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The Stability and Growth Pact: Lessons from the Great Recession

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  • Martin Larch
  • Paul van den Noord
  • Lars Jonung

Abstract

While current instruments of EU economic policy coordination helped stave off a full-scale depression, the post-2007 global financial and economic crisis has revealed a number of weaknesses in the Stability and Growth Pact, the EU framework for fiscal surveillance and fiscal policy coordination. This paper provides a diagnosis of how the SGP faired ahead and during the present crisis and offers a first comprehensive review of the ongoing academic and policy debate, including an account of the reform proposals adopted by the Commission on 29 September 2010. In our view, the current system of EU rules is unbalanced. It consists of (i) very specific provisions on how to conduct fiscal policy making in normal times with no effective enforcement mechanisms, and of (ii) no or extremely tight provisions for really bad economic times, like the Great Recession. A two-pronged approach as outlined in this report is needed to revive the Pact: tighter enforcement, coupled with broader macroeconomic surveillance, in good times and an open window for exceptionally bad times, including a crisis resolution mechanism at the EU level.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin Larch & Paul van den Noord & Lars Jonung, 2010. "The Stability and Growth Pact: Lessons from the Great Recession," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 429, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
  • Handle: RePEc:euf:ecopap:0429
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    Cited by:

    1. Torój, Andrzej & Bednarek, Elżbieta & Bęza-Bojanowska, Joanna & Osińska, Joanna & Waćko, Katarzyna & Witkowski, Dariusz, 2012. "EMU: the (post-)crisis perspective. Literature survey and implications for the euro-candidates," MF Working Papers 12, Ministry of Finance in Poland, revised 06 Mar 2012.
    2. Merola, Rossana & Pérez, Javier J., 2013. "Fiscal forecast errors: Governments versus independent agencies?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 285-299.
    3. 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.
    4. Hilary Clistina Ingham, 2018. "Economic Growth in the EU: Is Flexicurity a Help or a Hindrance?," Working Papers 238220512, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
    5. Jonung, Lars, 2014. "The Swedish Experience of Fiscal Reform: Lessons for Portugal," Working Papers 2014:27, Lund University, Department of Economics.
    6. Debrun, Xavier & Jonung, Lars, 2019. "Under threat: Rules-based fiscal policy and how to preserve it," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 142-157.
    7. Jonung, Lars, 2014. "Reforming the Fiscal Framework. The Case of Sweden 1973-2013," Working Papers 2014:26, Lund University, Department of Economics.
    8. Matthias Bauer, 2013. "Political Aversion To a Multilateral Fiscal Rule: The Dynamic Commitment Problem in European Fiscal Governance," Global Financial Markets Working Paper Series 44-2013, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    9. Ebert, Werner & Eckardt, Martina, 2011. "Wirtschafts- und finanzpolitische Koordinierung in der EU – Erfahrungen aus einem Jahrzehnt Politikkoordinierung [Public policy coordination in the EU - experiences from one decade of policy coordi," MPRA Paper 29281, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • E63 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Comparative or Joint Analysis of Fiscal and Monetary Policy; Stabilization; Treasury Policy
    • H6 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt

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