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Fiscal Rules in India: Are They Effective?

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  • Buiter, Willem H.
  • Patel, Urjit R.

Abstract

This paper, a chapter in the forthcoming Oxford University Press Handbook of the Indian Economy, edited by Chetan Ghate, considers India’s experience with fiscal (responsibility) rules during the past decade. After reviewing the basic facts concerning public debt and deficits in India, the background and basic arithmetic of the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act, 2003 (FRBMA) are presented and commented upon. With the very small number of data points at our disposal, no formal statistical estimation and hypothesis testing about the efficacy of the rules can even be attempted. Instead we critically explore the outcomes of the FRBMA over the 5-year period of its operation, 2004/05-2008/09, using an eclectic but comprehensive metric comprising quantitative targets, qualitative strictures, transparency, integrity, and overall financial performance over the business cycle. We also briefly review fiscal responsibility legislation (and outcomes) at the state level. The evidence suggests that in recent years the fiscal space “vacated” by the states has been usurped by the central government. Finally, the recommendations of the 13th Finance Commission regarding a roadmap for fiscal consolidation are examined. We also outline a basic incentive compatible framework for state and central governments to hold each other accountable over agreed pre-determined targets.

Suggested Citation

  • Buiter, Willem H. & Patel, Urjit R., 2010. "Fiscal Rules in India: Are They Effective?," CEPR Discussion Papers 7810, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7810
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2010. "Growth in a Time of Debt," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 573-578.
    2. Alan J. Auerbach, 2008. "Federal Budget Rules: The US Experience," NBER Working Papers 14288, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2009. "Varieties of Crises and Their Dates," Introductory Chapters,in: This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly Princeton University Press.
    4. Barro, Robert J, 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 940-971, October.
    5. Patel, Urjit R. & Bhattacharya, Saugata, 2010. "Infrastructure in India: The economics of transition from public to private provision," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, pages 52-70.
    6. Reinhart, Karmen & Rogoff, Kenneth, 2009. ""This time is different": panorama of eight centuries of financial crises," Economic Policy, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, vol. 1, pages 77-114, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Eduardo López E. & Víctor Riquelme P. & Ercio Muñoz S., 2011. "Long – Term Interest Rate and Fiscal Policy," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 633, Central Bank of Chile.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    2003; crowding out; Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act; fiscal sustainability; monetisation of public debt; sovereign default;

    JEL classification:

    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook
    • E65 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Studies of Particular Policy Episodes
    • H6 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt
    • H7 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations

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