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Fiscal policy in Europe: how effective are automatic stabilisers?

  • Anne Brunila
  • Marco Buti
  • Jan in 't Veld

It is largely recognised that fiscal policy will have larger responsibilities for cyclical stabilisation in EMU given the loss of the monetary instrument. At the same time, the EMU's budgetary framework emphasises the need to rely on automatic fiscal stabilisers, rather than active policies in cushioning the business cycle. We show that automatic stabilisers are relatively powerful in the event of shocks to private consumption, but less so in the case of shocks to private investment and exports. In the case of supply side shocks, the automatic stabilisers are largely ineffective, but this may actually be a good thing to the extent that supply-side disturbances call for structural adjustment rather than cyclical stabilisation..

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Paper provided by Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission in its series European Economy - Economic Papers with number 177.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:euf:ecopap:0177
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  1. Barrell, R. & Pina, A.M., 2000. "How Important are Automatic Stabilizers in Europe? A Stochastic Simulation Assessment," Economics Working Papers eco2000/2, European University Institute.
  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. Marco Buti & Carlos Martinez-Mongay & Khalid Sekkat & Paul van den Noord, 2002. "Automatic Stabilisers and Market Flexibility in EMU: Is There A Trade-Off?," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 335, OECD Publishing.
  4. Roberto Perotti, 2002. "Estimating the effects of fiscal policy in OECD countries," Economics Working Papers 015, European Network of Economic Policy Research Institutes.
  5. Olivier Blanchard & Roberto Perotti, 2002. "An Empirical Characterization Of The Dynamic Effects Of Changes In Government Spending And Taxes On Output," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1329-1368, November.
  6. André Sapir & Marco Buti, 1998. "Economic policy in EMU," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/8078, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  7. Thomas J. Sargent & Neil Wallace, 1981. "Some unpleasant monetarist arithmetic," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall.
  8. Marco Buti & Werner Roeger & Jan In't Veld, 2001. "Stabilizing Output and Inflation: Policy Conflicts and Co-operation under a Stability Pact," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(5), pages 801-828, December.
  9. Dani Rodrik, 1998. "Why Do More Open Economies Have Bigger Governments?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(5), pages 997-1032, October.
  10. Gali, Jordi, 1994. "Government size and macroeconomic stability," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 117-132, January.
  11. Perotti, Roberto, 2002. "Estimating the effects of fiscal policy in OECD countries," Working Paper Series 0168, European Central Bank.
  12. Canzoneri, Matthew B & Cumby, Robert & Diba, Behzad, 1998. "Is the Price Level Determined by the Needs of Fiscal Solvency?," CEPR Discussion Papers 1772, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Matthew Canzoneri & Behzad Diba, 1999. "The Stability and Growth Pact: A Delicate Balance or an Albatross?," Empirica, Springer, vol. 26(3), pages 241-258, September.
  14. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
  15. Werner Roeger & Jan in 't Veld, 1997. "QUEST II. A Multi-Country Business Cycle and Growth Model," European Economy - Economic Papers 123, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
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