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The Stability Pact Pains: A Forward-Looking Assessment of the Reform Debate

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  • Buti, Marco
  • Eijffinger, Sylvester C W
  • Franco, Daniele

Abstract

The Stability and Growth Pact has been under fire ever since it was born. But is the Pact a flawed fiscal rule? Against established criteria for an ideal fiscal rule, its design and compliance mechanisms show strengths and weaknesses. The latter tend to reflect trade-offs typical of supra-national arrangements. In the end, only a higher degree of fiscal integration would remove the inflexibility inherent in the recourse to predefined budgetary rules. No alternative solution put forward in the literature appears clearly superior. This does not mean that the original Pact of 1997 could not be improved. The debate on the SGP has shown that any reform should aim at overcoming the excessive uniformity of the rules, improving their transparency, correcting pro-cyclicality and strengthening enforcement. The reform of the Pact agreed in 2005 moves in this direction but leaves open a number of issues.

Suggested Citation

  • Buti, Marco & Eijffinger, Sylvester C W & Franco, Daniele, 2005. "The Stability Pact Pains: A Forward-Looking Assessment of the Reform Debate," CEPR Discussion Papers 5216, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5216
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Marco Buti & Paul Noord, 2004. "Fiscal Discretion and Elections in the Early Years of EMU," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(4), pages 737-756, November.
    2. Michael J. Artis & Marco Buti, 2000. "'Close-to-Balance or in Surplus': A Policy-Maker's Guide to the Implementation of the Stability and Growth Pact," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(4), pages 563-591, November.
    3. Sapir, Andre & Aghion, Philippe & Bertola, Giuseppe & Hellwig, Martin & Pisani-Ferry, Jean & Rosati, Dariusz & Vinals, Jose & Wallace, Helen, 2004. "An Agenda for a Growing Europe: The Sapir Report," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199271498.
    4. Schuknecht, Ludger, 2004. "EU fiscal rules: issues and lessons from political economy," Working Paper Series 421, European Central Bank.
    5. Buti, Marco & Eijffinger, Sylvester C.W. & Franco, Daniele, 2003. "Revisiting the stability and growth pact: grand design or internal adjustment?," Seminarios y Conferencias 6567, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    6. Marco Buti & Gabriele Giudice, 2002. "Maastricht's Fiscal Rules at Ten: An Assessment," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(5), pages 823-848, December.
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    8. Orban, Gabor & Szapary, Gyorgy, 2004. "The Stability and Growth Pact from the perspective of the new member states," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 26(7), pages 839-864, October.
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    10. Charles Wyplosz, 2005. "Fiscal Policy: Institutions versus Rules," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 191(1), pages 64-78, January.
    11. Martin Larch & Matteo Salto, 2005. "Fiscal rules, inertia and discretionary fiscal policy," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(10), pages 1135-1146.
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    15. Schuknecht, Ludger & Tanzi, Vito, 2005. "Reforming public expenditure in industrialised countries: are there trade-offs?," Working Paper Series 435, European Central Bank.
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    18. Fabrizio Balassone & Daniele Franco, 2000. "Public investment, the Stability Pact and the ‘golden rule’," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 21(2), pages 207-229, June.
    19. Buti, Marco & Franco, Daniele & Ongena, Hedwig, 1998. "Fiscal Discipline and Flexibility in EMU: The Implementation of the Stability and Growth Pact," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(3), pages 81-97, Autumn.
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    Cited by:

    1. Fiorella Kostoris Padoa Schioppa, 2006. "The 2005 Reform of the Stability and Growth Pact: Too Little, Too Late?," Bruges European Economic Research Papers 6, European Economic Studies Department, College of Europe.
    2. Rui Henrique Alves & Óscar Afonso, 2007. "Fiscal Federalism in the European Union: How Far Are We?," FEP Working Papers 244, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
    3. Jean-Paul Fitoussi & Francesco Saraceno, 2008. "Fiscal Discipline as a Social Norm: The European Stability Pact," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 10(6), pages 1143-1168, December.
    4. Onorante, Luca & Pedregal, Diego J. & Pérez, Javier J. & Signorini, Sara, 2010. "The usefulness of infra-annual government cash budgetary data for fiscal forecasting in the euro area," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 98-119, January.
    5. Rülke, Jan-Christoph & Frenkel, Michael & Lis, Eliza, 2013. "Do budget balance rules anchor budget balance expectations? -- Some international evidence," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 80050, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    6. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/1482 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Jean-Paul Pollin & Jean-Luc Gaffard, 2013. "Pourquoi faut-il séparer les activités bancaires ?," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/1cud3763mom, Sciences Po.
    8. Buti, Marco & Sapir, André, 2006. "Fiscal Policy in Europe: The Past and Future of EMU Rules from the Perspective of Musgrave and Buchanan," CEPR Discussion Papers 5830, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Marco Buti, 2006. "Will the new stability and growth pact succeed? An economic and political perspective," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 241, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    10. William Mitchell, 2015. "Eurozone Dystopia," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 16478.
    11. Rui Alves & Oscar Afonso, 2007. "The "New" Stability and Growth Pact: More Flexible, Less Stupid?," Intereconomics: Review of European Economic Policy, Springer;German National Library of Economics;Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), vol. 42(4), pages 218-225, July.
    12. Jean Pisani-Ferry, 2006. "Only One Bed for Two Dreams: A Critical Retrospective on the Debate over the Economic Governance of the Euro Area," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44, pages 823-844, November.
    13. repec:pjm:journl:v:xxi:y:2016:i:2:p:79-99 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/9909 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    economic and monetary union; fiscal policy; fiscal rules; Stability and Growth Pact;

    JEL classification:

    • E61 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination
    • H3 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents
    • H6 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt
    • H7 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations

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