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Fiscal Policy in Europe: The Past and Future of EMU Rules from the Perspective of Musgrave and Buchanan


  • Buti, Marco
  • Sapir, André


During the ‘Golden Age’ that lasted until the mid-1970s, Europe witnessed a "public finance" phase, when the three sides of Musgrave’s triangle - allocative efficiency, redistribution and cyclical stabilisation - seemed to reinforce one another. EMU's fiscal rules - embodied in the Maastricht Treaty and the Stability and Growth Pact - can be regarded as the attempt by European governments to overcome the subsequent "public choice" phase à la Buchanan which was characterised by increasing budget deficits and trade offs between allocative efficiency and redistribution. The original Stability Pact delivered only partly. A rigorous enforcement of the reformed Pact will depend on two conditions: the renewed ownership of the rules by key players and the relative weight of the perceived negative externalities of fiscal misbehaviour versus the political costs of attempting to limit the partner countries’ room for manoeuvre.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5830

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Buti, M. & Eijffinger, S.C.W. & Franco, D., 2005. "The Stability pact Pains : A Forward-Looking Assessment of the Reform Debate," Discussion Paper 2005-101, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    2. 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.
    3. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1999. "Political economics and macroeconomic policy," Handbook of Macroeconomics,in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 22, pages 1397-1482 Elsevier.
    4. Benoiˆt Coeure´ & Jean Pisani-Ferry, 2005. "Fiscal Policy in Emu: Towards a Sustainability and Growth Pact?," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(4), pages 598-617, Winter.
    5. 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, June.
    6. Buti, Marco, 2003. "Revisiting the stability and growth pact: grand design or internal adjustment?," Sede de la CEPAL en Santiago (Estudios e Investigaciones) 34908, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    7. 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).
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. Willem H. Buiter, 2006. "The 'Sense and Nonsense of Maastricht' Revisited: What Have we Learnt about Stabilization in EMU?," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44, pages 687-710, November.
    11. Lars Jonung & Martin Larch, 2006. "Improving fiscal policy in the EU: the case for independent forecasts," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 21(47), pages 491-534, July.
    12. Jean Pisani-Ferry, 2005. "Fiscal policy in EMU: towards a sustainability and growth pact," Working Papers 52, Bruegel.
    13. James M. Buchanan & Richard A. Musgrave, 1999. "Public Finance and Public Choice: Two Contrasting Visions of the State," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262024624, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Christian Fahrholz & Cezary Wójcik, 2010. "The Bail-Out! Positive Political Economics of Greek-type Crises in the EMU," CESifo Working Paper Series 3178, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Ferré, Montserrat, 2012. "The effects of uncertainty about countries’ compliance with the Stability and Growth Pact," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 34(5), pages 660-674.
    3. repec:wsi:jicepx:v:03:y:2012:i:02:n:s179399331250010x is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Staehr, Karsten, 2008. "Fiscal policies and business cycles in an enlarged euro area," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 46-69, March.
    5. Jacopo Cimadomo, 2012. "Fiscal Policy in Real Time," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 114(2), pages 440-465, June.

    More about this item


    EMU; fiscal policy; Stability Pact;

    JEL classification:

    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook
    • H3 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents
    • H6 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt

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