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Implementing the Stability and Growth Pact: Enforcement and Procedural Flexibility

  • Roel M. W. J. Beetsma
  • Xavier Debrun

The paper analyzes some key policy trade-offs involved in the implementation of the Stability and Growth Pact. Greater "procedural" flexibility in the Pact's implementation may improve welfare. Procedural flexibility designates the enforcer's room to apply judgment on underlying policies and to set a consolidation path that does not discourage high-quality measures. Budgetary opaqueness may hinder the qualitative assessment of fiscal policy; therefore, better monitoring and greater transparency would increase the benefits from procedural flexibility. Overall, a simple deficit rule with conditional procedural flexibility can contain excessive deficits, lower unproductive spending, and increase high-quality outlays.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 05/59.

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Length: 34
Date of creation: 01 Mar 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:05/59
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  1. Sibert, Anne & Sutherland, Alan, 2000. "Monetary union and labor market reform," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 421-435, August.
  2. Hagen, Jürgen von & Wolff, Guntram B., 2006. "What do deficits tell us about debt? Empirical evidence on creative accounting with fiscal rules in the EU," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 148, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  3. Francesca Castellani & Xavier Debrun, 2001. "Central Bank Independence and the Design of Fiscal Institutions," IMF Working Papers 01/205, International Monetary Fund.
  4. Beetsma, Roel & Debrun, Xavier, 2003. "Reconciling Stability and Growth: Smart Pacts and Structural Reforms," CEPR Discussion Papers 3930, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Robert A. J. Dur & Ben D. Peletier & Otto H. Swank, 1999. "Voting on the Budget Deficit: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1377-1381, December.
  6. Beetsma, Roel & Uhlig, Harald, 1999. "An Analysis of the Stability and Growth Pact," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(458), pages 546-71, October.
  7. Gian-Maria Milesi-Ferretti, 2000. "Good, Bad or Ugly?on the Effects of Fiscal Rules with Creative Accounting," IMF Working Papers 00/172, International Monetary Fund.
  8. Schuknecht, Ludger, 2004. "EU fiscal rules: issues and lessons from political economy," Working Paper Series 0421, European Central Bank.
  9. Tabellini, Guido & Alesina, Alberto, 1990. "A Positive Theory of Fiscal Deficits and Government Debt," Scholarly Articles 3612769, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  10. Olivier Blanchard, 2004. "The Economic Future of Europe," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(4), pages 3-26, Fall.
  11. Blanchard, Olivier J & Giavazzi, Francesco, 2004. "Improving the SGP Through a Proper Accounting of Public Investment," CEPR Discussion Papers 4220, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Hallett, Andrew Hughes & Jensen, Svend E. Hougaard & Richter, Christian, 2005. "The European economy at the cross roads: Structural reforms, fiscal constraints, and the Lisbon Agenda," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 229-250, June.
  13. Sibert, Anne, 1999. "Monetary Integration and Economic Reform," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(452), pages 78-92, January.
  14. Hughes Hallett, Andrew & Jensen, Svend E. Hougaard, 2001. "Currency unions and the incentive to reform: are market mechanisms enough?," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 139-155, July.
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