IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Fiscal Adjustment and the Costs of Public Debt Service: Evidence from OECD Countries

  • Christoph A. Schaltegger
  • Martin Weder

We use a panel of 21 OECD countries from 1970 to 2009 to investigate the effects of different fiscal adjustment strategies on long-term interest rates – a key fiscal indicator reflecting the costs of government debt service. A government confronted with high deficits and rising debt will sooner or later need to enact fiscal adjustments in order to avoid solvency problems. Over the last four decades, such measures taken by governments in OECD countries have varied in duration, size, composition and in their success to re-establish fiscal sustainability. Controlling for various economic, fiscal and political factors, we find that the size and the composition of a fiscal adjustment significantly affect interest rates as well as yield spreads. Adjustments that are relatively large and those that primarily depend on expenditure cuts lead to substantially lower long-term interest rates. However, periods of fiscal adjustments do not generally have an influence on interest rates, even if they were successful and led to lower deficits and debt levels. Instead, financial markets only seem to value strict and decisive measures – a clear sign that the government’s pledge to cut the deficit is credible.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3297.

in new window

Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3297
Contact details of provider: Postal: Poschingerstrasse 5, 81679 Munich
Phone: +49 (89) 9224-0
Fax: +49 (89) 985369
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Reinhart, Carmen, 2009. "The Second Great Contraction," MPRA Paper 21485, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Stéphanie Guichard & Mike Kennedy & Eckhard Wurzel & Christophe André, 2007. "What Promotes Fiscal Consolidation: OECD Country Experiences," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 553, OECD Publishing.
  3. Alesina, Alberto & Drazen, Allan, 1991. "Why Are Stabilizations Delayed?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1170-88, December.
  4. von Hagen, Jurgen & Hughes Hallett, Andrew & Strauch, Rolf, 2002. "Budgetary Consolidation in Europe: Quality, Economic Conditions, and Persistence," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 512-535, December.
  5. Jürgen von Hagen & Andrew Hughes Hallett & Rolf Strauch, 2001. "Budgetary Consolidation in EMU," European Economy - Economic Papers 148, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
  6. Pasaran, M.H. & Im, K.S. & Shin, Y., 1995. "Testing for Unit Roots in Heterogeneous Panels," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 9526, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  7. Jochen Mierau & Richard Jong-A-Pin & Jakob de Haan, 2007. "Do political variables affect fiscal policy adjustment decisions? New empirical evidence," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 133(3), pages 297-319, December.
  8. Blanchard, Olivier J & Cottarelli, Carlo & Spilimbergo, Antonio & Symansky, Steven, 2009. "Fiscal Policy for the Crisis," CEPR Discussion Papers 7130, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    • Antonio Spilimbergo & Steve Symansky & Olivier Blanchard & Carlo Cottarelli, 2009. "Fiscal Policy For The Crisis," CESifo Forum, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 10(2), pages 26-32, 07.
  9. Bertola, Giuseppe & Drazen, Allan, 1993. "Trigger Points and Budget Cuts: Explaining the Effects of Fiscal Austerity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 11-26, March.
  10. Ardagna, Silvia, 2009. "Financial Markets’ Behavior Around Episodes of Large Changes in the Fiscal Stance," Scholarly Articles 2579824, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  11. Ardagna, Silvia, 2009. "Financial markets' behavior around episodes of large changes in the fiscal stance," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 37-55, January.
  12. Caporale, Guglielmo Maria & Williams, Geoffrey, 2002. "Long-term nominal interest rates and domestic fundamentals," Review of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 119-130.
  13. Tavares, Jose, 2004. "Does right or left matter? Cabinets, credibility and fiscal adjustments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(12), pages 2447-2468, December.
  14. Lloyd Thomas & Danhua Wu, 2009. "Long-term interest rates and expected future budget deficits: evidence from the term structure," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(4), pages 365-368.
  15. Thomas Laubach, 2003. "New evidence on the interest rate effects of budget deficits and debt," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2003-12, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  16. Sutherland, Alan, 1995. "Fiscal Crises and Aggregate Demand: Can High Public Debt Reverse the Effects of Fiscal Policy?," CEPR Discussion Papers 1246, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Kiichi Tokuoka, 2010. "The Outlook for Financing Japan's Public Debt," IMF Working Papers 10/19, International Monetary Fund.
  18. repec:oup:qjecon:v:114:y:1999:i:4:p:1399-1436 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. Alberto Alesina & Roberto Perotti, 1997. "Fiscal Adjustments in OECD Countries: Composition and Macroeconomic Effects," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 44(2), pages 210-248, June.
  20. Dani Rodrik, 1996. "Understanding Economic Policy Reform," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(1), pages 9-41, March.
  21. Vincent Koen & Paul van den Noord, 2005. "Fiscal Gimmickry in Europe: One-Off Measures and Creative Accounting," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 417, OECD Publishing.
  22. Andrea Zaghini, 2001. "Fiscal adjustments and economic performing: a comparative study," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(5), pages 613-624.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3297. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Julio Saavedra)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.