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The Stability and Growth Pact, Fiscal Policy Institutions, and Stabilization in Europe

  • Carlos Marinheiro

    ()

    (GEMF and Faculdade de Economia, Universidade de Coimbra)

Ever since its inception EMU has been subject to controversy. The fiscal policy rules embedded in the Treaty on European Union, and clarified in the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP), are probably the most contentious. The SGP as always being accused of being too rigid and of forcing procyclicality in fiscal policy. However, in an influential paper Galí and Perotti (2003) concluded that discretionary fiscal policy has actually become more countercyclical in EMU countries after the Maastricht Treaty. This paper concludes that this conclusion resists to several robustness tests using ex-post data, including the use of institutional variables, but not to the use of real-time data. Using ex-post data there is some evidence pointing to a more countercyclical use of discretionary fiscal policy (or at least to a decrease in the use of procyclical discretionary fiscal policy). However, the use of real-time data for the period 1999-2006 reveals that discretionary fiscal policy has been designed to be procyclical. Hence, the actual acyclical behaviour of discretionary fiscal policy in the period after 1999 seems to be simply the result of errors in the forecast of the output gap, and not the result of a change in the intentions of policy makers. As a result, there is no evidence in favour of the view that Maastricht rules have forced euro-area policy-makers to change their behaviour and design countercyclical discretionary fiscal policy.

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Paper provided by GEMF - Faculdade de Economia, Universidade de Coimbra in its series GEMF Working Papers with number 2007-07.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in International Economics and Economic Policy 5(1-2):189-207, 2008
Handle: RePEc:gmf:wpaper:2007-07
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  1. Woo, Jaejoon, 2003. "Economic, political, and institutional determinants of public deficits," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(3-4), pages 387-426, March.
  2. Lorenzo Forni & Sandro Momigliano, 2004. "Cyclical sensitivity of fiscal policies based on real-time data," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 540, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
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  9. Galí, Jordi & Perotti, Roberto, 2003. "Fiscal Policy and Monetary Integration in Europe," CEPR Discussion Papers 3933, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Volkerink, Bjorn & De Haan, Jakob, 2001. " Fragmented Government Effects on Fiscal Policy: New Evidence," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 109(3-4), pages 221-42, December.
  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, 07.
  12. Brender, Adi & Drazen, Allan, 2005. "Political budget cycles in new versus established democracies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(7), pages 1271-1295, October.
  13. Carlos Marinheiro, 2003. "Output Smoothing in EMU and OECD: Can We Forego Government Contribution? A risk sharing approach," GEMF Working Papers 2003-02, GEMF - Faculdade de Economia, Universidade de Coimbra.
  14. Roubini, Nouriel & Sachs, Jeffrey D., 1989. "Political and economic determinants of budget deficits in the industrial democracies," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 903-933, May.
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