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EU fiscal rules: issues and lessons from political economy

  • Schuknecht, Ludger

The paper analyses the EU fiscal rules from a political economy perspective and derives some policy lessons. Following a literature survey, the paper stresses the importance of appropriate incentives for rule compliance in an environment where national fiscal sovereignty precludes the option of centralised enforcement. In addition, the paper stresses the importance of clear and simple rules and in particular the 3% deficit limit in anchoring expectations of fiscal discipline and facilitating public and market monitoring of public finances. This, in turn, strengthens incentive for rule compliance. Moreover, the paper discusses the interests of the most important players in European fiscal rule formation and the importance of choosing the appropriate time for initiating a reform debate. JEL Classification: D7, H3, H6

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Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 0421.

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Date of creation: Dec 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20040421
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  1. Hallerberg, Mark & Strauch, Rolf & Hagen, Jürgen von, 2006. "The design of fiscal rules and forms of governance in European Union countries," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 150, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  2. Rother Philipp & Catenaro Marco & Schwab Gerhard, . "Ageing and Pensions in the Euro Area," EcoMod2002 330800060, EcoMod.
  3. Albert Jaeger & Ludger Schuknecht, 2007. "Boom-Bust Phases in Asset Prices and Fiscal Policy Behavior," Emerging Markets Finance and Trade, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 43(6), pages 45-66, November.
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  5. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, . "Political Economics and Macroeconomic Policy," Working Papers 121, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  6. George Kopits & Steven A. Symansky, 1998. "Fiscal Policy Rules," IMF Occasional Papers 162, International Monetary Fund.
  7. Marín, José M., 2002. "Sustainability of public finances and automatic stabilisation under a rule of budgetary discipline," Working Paper Series 0193, European Central Bank.
  8. Bernoth, Kerstin & von Hagen, Jürgen & Schuknecht, Ludger, 2004. "Sovereign risk premia in the European government bond market," Working Paper Series 0369, European Central Bank.
  9. Roel M. W. J. Beetsma & Xavier Debrun, 2005. "Implementing the Stability and Growth Pact; Enforcement and Procedural Flexibility," IMF Working Papers 05/59, International Monetary Fund.
  10. Felix Eschenbach & Ludger Schuknecht, 2004. "Budgetary risks from real estate and stock markets," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 19(39), pages 313-346, 07.
  11. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-91, June.
  12. 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, December.
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  15. Kenneth Rogoff, 1987. "Equilibrium Political Budget Cycles," NBER Working Papers 2428, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Fernández-Huertas Moraga, Jesús & Vidal, Jean-Pierre, 2004. "Fiscal sustainability and public debt in an endogenous growth model," Working Paper Series 0395, European Central Bank.
  17. de Haan, Jakob & Berger, Helge & Jansen, David-Jan, 2003. "The end of stability and growth pact?," Discussion Papers 2003/16, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
  18. 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.
  19. Mueller,Dennis C., 2003. "Public Choice III," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521894753, November.
  20. Jordi GalÌ & Roberto Perotti, 2003. "Fiscal policy and monetary integration in Europe," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 18(37), pages 533-572, October.
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