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Has the Stability and Growth Pact Impeded Political Budget Cycles in the European Union?


  • Mark Mink
  • Jakob de Haan


This paper examines whether there is a political budget cycle (PBC) in countries in the euro area. Using a multivariate model for the period 1999-2004 and various election indicators we find strong evidence that the Stability and Growth Pact has not restricted fiscal policy makers in the euro area in pursuing expansionary policies before elections. In an election-year – but not in the year prior to the election – the budget deficit increases. This result is in line with third generation PBC models, which are based on moral hazard. We also find a significant but small partisan effect on fiscal policy outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark Mink & Jakob de Haan, 2005. "Has the Stability and Growth Pact Impeded Political Budget Cycles in the European Union?," CESifo Working Paper Series 1532, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1532

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Volkerink, Bjorn & De Haan, Jakob, 2001. "Fragmented Government Effects on Fiscal Policy: New Evidence," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 109(3-4), pages 221-242, December.
    2. Jakob de Haan & Helge Berger & David-Jan Jansen, 2003. "The End of the Stability and Growth Pact?," CESifo Working Paper Series 1093, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. L. Wade, 1988. "Review," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 58(1), pages 99-100, July.
    4. Jakob de Haan & Helge Berger & David-Jan Jansen, 2004. "Why has the Stability and Growth Pact Failed?," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(2), pages 235-260, July.
    5. Kenneth Rogoff & Anne Sibert, 1988. "Elections and Macroeconomic Policy Cycles," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 55(1), pages 1-16.
    6. Shi, Min & Svensson, Jakob, 2002. "Conditional Political Budget Cycles," CEPR Discussion Papers 3352, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1990. "Equilibrium Political Budget Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 21-36, March.
    8. Marco Buti & Paul van den Noord, 2003. "Discretionary Fiscal Policy and Elections: The Experience of the Early Years of EMU," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 351, OECD Publishing.
    9. Schuknecht, Ludger, 2004. "EU fiscal rules: issues and lessons from political economy," Working Paper Series 421, European Central Bank.
    10. Perotti, Roberto & Kontopoulos, Yianos, 2002. "Fragmented fiscal policy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 191-222, November.
    11. Tujula, Mika & Wolswijk, Guido, 2004. "What determines fiscal balances? An empirical investigation in determinants of changes in OECD budget balances," Working Paper Series 422, European Central Bank.
    12. James E. Alt & David Dreyer Lassen, 2005. "The Political Budget Cycle is Where You Can't See It: Transparency and Fiscal Manipulation," EPRU Working Paper Series 05-03, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    13. Andrikopoulos, Andreas & Loizides, Ioannis & Prodromidis, Kyprianos, 2004. "Fiscal policy and political business cycles in the EU," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 125-152, March.
    14. William D. Nordhaus, 1975. "The Political Business Cycle," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(2), pages 169-190.
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    More about this item


    fiscal policy; political budget cycle; Stability and Growth Pact;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation

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