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The determinants of macroeconomic forecasts and the Stability and Growth Pact


  • Patricia Martins
  • Leonida Correia


This paper identifies the determinants of macroeconomic forecasts (budget balance, public debt and real GDP growth), of the governments of the 15 EU countries. We have used the forecasts of the Stability and Convergence Programmes submitted between 1998/99 and 2008/09 and the European Commission’s. Results show that, in general, economic growth forecasts submitted by European governments are more optimistic than those published by the European Commission. The lack of accuracy of government forecasts is due to “misinformation” regarding the economic situation at the time of their publication. The differences between observed and forecast changes of budget balance and public debt are explained by the output growth forecast errors and the forecasts of the changes in the two fiscal indicators. These forecast changes tend to revise downwards the changes submitted in the previous Program. Therefore, the governments’ “bad intention” seems to result from their lack of commitment to the objectives of previous programs and it explains the recurrent delays in the implementation of their fiscal consolidation plans.

Suggested Citation

  • Patricia Martins & Leonida Correia, 2013. "The determinants of macroeconomic forecasts and the Stability and Growth Pact," Working Papers Department of Economics 2013/07, ISEG - Lisbon School of Economics and Management, Department of Economics, Universidade de Lisboa.
  • Handle: RePEc:ise:isegwp:wp072013

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Pina, Álvaro M. & Venes, Nuno M., 2011. "The political economy of EDP fiscal forecasts: An empirical assessment," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 534-546, September.
    2. Roel Beetsma & Massimo Giuliodori & Peter Wierts, 2009. "Planning to cheat: EU fiscal policy in real time," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 24, pages 753-804, October.
    3. Roel Beetsma & Massimo Giuliodori, 2010. "Fiscal adjustment to cyclical developments in the OECD: an empirical analysis based on real-time data," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 62(3), pages 419-441, July.
    4. Tilman Brück & Andreas Stephan, 2006. "Do Eurozone Countries Cheat with their Budget Deficit Forecasts?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(1), pages 3-15, February.
    5. Roberto Golinelli & Sandro Momigliano, 2009. "The Cyclical Reaction of Fiscal Policies in the Euro Area: The Role of Modelling Choices and Data Vintages," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 30(1), pages 39-72, March.
    6. Milesi-Ferretti, Gian Maria & Moriyama, Kenji, 2006. "Fiscal adjustment in EU countries: A balance sheet approach," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 30(12), pages 3281-3298, December.
    7. Álvaro M. Pina, 2009. "Elusive Counter-Cyclicality and Deliberate Opportunism? Fiscal Policy from Plans to Final Outcomes," Working Papers w200906, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
    8. 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, July.
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    More about this item


    European Union; Stability and Growth Pact; forecast errors;

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H6 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt

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