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The Discipline-Enhancing Role of Fiscal Institutions: Theory and Empirical Evidence

  • Xavier Debrun
  • Manmohan S. Kumar

This paper discusses the role of fiscal institutions, including budget rules and non-partisan agencies, in enhancing fiscal discipline. A dynamic model of fiscal policy shows that optimal institutions lack credibility unless the costs to bypass them are sufficiently high. In our model, a combination of complete budgetary transparency and strong democratic accountability suffice to establish credibility. Under incomplete budgetary transparency, accountable governments may also use institutions as a signal of competence to increase their reelection chances, which in turn erodes the penchant for excessive deficits. In light of the theory, empirical tests of the effectiveness of institutions are undertaken. The results further emphasize that analysis should pay due attention to simultaneity bias (because disciplined governments may be more likely to adopt strict institutions). Also, interactions among different fiscal institutions, and between the latter and key features of the political system need to be explored further.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 07/171.

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Length: 45
Date of creation: 01 Jul 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:07/171
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  1. Bennett T. McCallum, 1995. "Two Fallacies Concerning Central Bank Independence," NBER Working Papers 5075, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Henning Bohn, 1998. "The Behavior Of U.S. Public Debt And Deficits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(3), pages 949-963, August.
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  4. Cukierman, Alex, 2001. "Are Contemporary Central Banks Transparent about Economic Models and Objectives and What Difference Does it Make?," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2001,05, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
  5. Beetsma, Roel M. W. J. & Lans Bovenberg, A., 1997. "Designing fiscal and monetary institutions in a second-best world," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 53-79, February.
  6. Beetsma, R.M.W.J. & Bovenberg, A.L., 1997. "Designing fiscal and monetary institutions in a second best world," Other publications TiSEM 9cf95e79-e382-4268-8e4d-c, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  7. 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.
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  11. Avinash Dixit & Luisa Lambertini, 2003. "Interactions of Commitment and Discretion in Monetary and Fiscal Policies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1522-1542, December.
  12. Adam S. Posen, 1995. "Declarations Are Not Enough: Financial Sector Sources of Central Bank Independence," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1995, Volume 10, pages 253-274 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Xavier Debrun, 2000. "Fiscal Rules in a Monetary Union: A Short-Run Analysis," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 323-358, October.
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  15. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-74437 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. Bayoumi, Tamim & Goldstein, Morris & Woglom, Geoffrey, 1995. "Do Credit Markets Discipline Sovereign Borrowers? Evidence from US States," CEPR Discussion Papers 1088, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Wyplosz, Charles, 2002. "Fiscal Policy: Institutions versus Rules," CEPR Discussion Papers 3238, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. Charles Wyplosz, 2005. "Fiscal Policy: Institutions versus Rules," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 191(1), pages 64-78, January.
  19. Krogstrup, Signe & Wyplosz, Charles, 2006. "A Common Pool Theory of Deficit Bias Correction," CEPR Discussion Papers 5866, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  20. Bayoumi, Tamim & Goldstein, Morris & Woglom, Geoffrey, 1995. "Do Credit Markets Discipline Sovereign Borrowers? Evidence from the U.S. States," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(4), pages 1046-59, November.
  21. Jensen, Henrik, 1997. "Credibility of Optimal Monetary Delegation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 911-20, December.
  22. francesca castellani, 2002. "A Model of Central Bank's Accountability," IHEID Working Papers 04-2002, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies.
  23. Xavier Debrun & Paul Masson & Catherine Pattillo, 2005. "Monetary union in West Africa: who might gain, who might lose, and why?," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 38(2), pages 454-481, May.
  24. Oya Celasun & Joong Shik Kang, 2006. "On the Properties of Various Estimators for Fiscal Reaction Functions," IMF Working Papers 06/182, International Monetary Fund.
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