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Fiscal Divergence and Business Cycle Synchronization: Irresponsibility is Idiosyncratic

  • Darvas, Zsolt
  • Rose, Andrew K
  • Szapáry, György

Using a panel of 21 OECD countries and 40 years of annual data, we find that countries with similar government budget positions tend to have business cycles that fluctuate more closely. That is, fiscal convergence (in the form of persistently similar ratios of government surplus/deficit to GDP) is systematically associated with more synchronized business cycles. We also find evidence that reduced fiscal deficits increase business cycle synchronization. The Maastricht 'convergence criteria', used to determine eligibility for EMU, encouraged fiscal convergence and deficit reduction. They may thus have indirectly moved Europe closer to an optimum currency area, by reducing countries' abilities to create idiosyncratic fiscal shocks. Our empirical results are economically and statistically significant, and robust.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5188.

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Date of creation: Aug 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5188
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  1. Mark Aguiar & Manuel Amador & Gita Gopinath, 2005. "Efficient Fiscal Policy and Amplification," NBER Working Papers 11490, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Fatas, Antonio & Mihov, Ilian, 2006. "The macroeconomic effects of fiscal rules in the US states," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1-2), pages 101-117, January.
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  7. Michael Gavin & Roberto Perotti, 1997. "Fiscal Policy in Latin America," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 11-72 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Canova, Fabio & Ciccarelli, Matteo & Ortega, Eva, 2007. "Similarities and convergence in G-7 cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 850-878, April.
  9. Marianne Baxter & Michael A. Kouparitsas, 2004. "Determinants of business cycle comovement: a robust analysis," Working Paper Series WP-04-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  10. Jeffrey A. Frankel & Andrew K. Rose, 1996. "The Endogeneity of the Optimum Currency Area Criteria," NBER Working Papers 5700, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Alberto Alesina & Robert J. Barro & Silvana Tenreyro, 2002. "Optimal Currency Areas," NBER Working Papers 9072, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • Alberto Alesina & Robert J. Barro & Silvana Tenreyro, 2003. "Optimal Currency Areas," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2002, Volume 17, pages 301-356 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Darvas, Zsolt & Rose, Andrew K & Szapáry, György, 2005. "Fiscal Divergence and Business Cycle Synchronization: Irresponsibility is Idiosyncratic," CEPR Discussion Papers 5188, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Robin L. Lumsdaine & Eswar S. Prasad, 1997. "Identifying the Common Component in International Economic Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 5984, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  20. Zsolt Darvas & György Szapáry, 2006. "Business Cycle Synchronization in the Enlarged EU," Working Papers 0604, Department of Mathematical Economics and Economic Analysis, Corvinus University of Budapest.
  21. 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.
  22. Philip R. Lane, 2002. "The Cyclical Behaviour of Fiscal Policy: Evidence from the OECD," Trinity Economics Papers 20022, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
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  24. Gerlach, H M Stefan, 1988. "World Business Cycles under Fixed and Flexible Exchange Rates," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 20(4), pages 621-32, November.
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