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Breaking the Impediments to Budgetary Reforms: Evidence from Europe

  • Ashoka Mody
  • Stefania Fabrizio

Under what conditions are budget institutions likely to be strengthened? We find that fiscal deficits do not help in focusing policymakers on undertaking reforms. To the contrary, the larger the deficit, the lower is the likelihood of reforms. Large deficits apparently imply strong claims on the budget and, hence, generate unwillingness to impose self-discipline. As such, countries will tend to move either to small fiscal deficits and good institutions or large deficits and weak institutions. Economic shocks (if they are large enough) can help build a constituency for improving budget institutions. However, if forgiving markets accommodate economic shocks, even such pressure may be insufficient. Forwardlooking and credible leadership appears to be an important ingredient of the solution.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 08/82.

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Length: 31
Date of creation: 01 Mar 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:08/82
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  1. Ashoka Mody & Abdul Abiad, 2003. "Financial Reform: What Shakes it? What Shapes it?," IMF Working Papers 03/70, International Monetary Fund.
  2. Hallerberg, Mark & Strauch, Rolf & von Hagen, Jurgen, 2007. "The design of fiscal rules and forms of governance in European Union countries," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 338-359, June.
  3. Alberto Alesina & Silvia Ardagna & Francesco Trebbi, 2006. "Who adjusts and when? On the political economy of reforms," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2108, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  4. Alesina, A. & Drazen, A., 1991. "Why Are Stabilizations Delayed?," Papers 6-91, Tel Aviv - the Sackler Institute of Economic Studies.
  5. Alesina, Alberto & Hausmann, Ricardo & Hommes, Rudolf & Stein, Ernesto, 1999. "Budget institutions and fiscal performance in Latin America," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 253-273, August.
  6. Mark Hallerberg & Jürgen von Hagen, 1999. "Electoral Institutions, Cabinet Negotiations, and Budget Deficits in the European Union," NBER Chapters, in: Fiscal Institutions and Fiscal Performance, pages 209-232 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Ashoka Mody & Stefania Fabrizio, 2006. "Can Budget Institutions Counteract Political Indiscipline?," IMF Working Papers 06/123, International Monetary Fund.
  8. Fernandez, Raquel & Rodrik, Dani, 1991. "Resistance to Reform: Status Quo Bias in the Presence of Individual-Specific Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1146-55, December.
  9. Cukierman, A. & Tommasi, M., 1997. "When Does It Take a Nixon to Go to China," Papers 30-97, Tel Aviv.
  10. Gleich, Holger, 2003. "Budget institutions and fiscal performance in Central and Eastern European countries," Working Paper Series 0215, European Central Bank.
  11. Poterba, James M, 1994. "State Responses to Fiscal Crises: The Effects of Budgetary Institutions and Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 799-821, August.
  12. Dani Rodrik, 1996. "Understanding Economic Policy Reform," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(1), pages 9-41, March.
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