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A simple and flexible alternative to the Stability and Growth Pact deficit ceilings. Is it at hand?

Author

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  • V. Anton Muscatelli
  • Piergiovanna Natale

    ()

  • Patrizio Tirelli

    ()

Abstract

We use a simple theoretical model of a monetary union where myopic discretionary fiscal policies generate excessive debt accumulation in steady state and inefficiently delayed debt adjustment following a shock. We advocate the adoption of a flexible debt targeting approach. By setting a long-term debt target and by raising the political cost associated to deviations from the optimal pace of debt reversal following a shock¸ institutional design induces the fiscal policymaker to implement unbiased discretionary responses to shocks. Since the power to discipline fiscal policymakers rests in the hands of national voters, this outcome can be achieved by increasing the transparency of the decision-making process, where national voters understand the long-term consequences of fiscal policies. In practice, we call for clearer and more focused supervision tasks for the European Commission and for a more active role of national Parliaments whenever a disagreement arises between the Commission and a national government.

Suggested Citation

  • V. Anton Muscatelli & Piergiovanna Natale & Patrizio Tirelli, 2010. "A simple and flexible alternative to the Stability and Growth Pact deficit ceilings. Is it at hand?," Working Papers 195, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Jul 2010.
  • Handle: RePEc:mib:wpaper:195
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Julio J. Rotemberg & Michael Woodford, 1999. "Interest Rate Rules in an Estimated Sticky Price Model," NBER Chapters,in: Monetary Policy Rules, pages 57-126 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Buti, Marco, 2003. "Revisiting the stability and growth pact: grand design or internal adjustment?," Sede de la CEPAL en Santiago (Estudios e Investigaciones) 34908, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    3. Jensen, Henrik, 1994. "Loss of monetary discretion in a simple dynamic policy game," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 18(3-4), pages 763-779.
    4. Julio Rotemberg & Michael Woodford, 1997. "An Optimization-Based Econometric Framework for the Evaluation of Monetary Policy," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 297-361 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Buti, Marco & Eijffinger, Sylvester C.W. & Franco, Daniele, 2003. "Revisiting the stability and growth pact: grand design or internal adjustment?," Seminarios y Conferencias 6567, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    6. Alberto Alesina, 1987. "A Positive Theory of Fiscal Deficits and Government Debt in a Democracy," UCLA Economics Working Papers 435, UCLA Department of Economics.
    7. Jean Pisani-Ferry, 2005. "Fiscal policy in EMU: towards a sustainability and growth pact," Working Papers 52, Bruegel.
    8. Beetsma, Roel M. W. J. & Bovenberg, A. Lans, 1997. "Central bank independence and public debt policy," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 21(4-5), pages 873-894, May.
    9. Jürgen von Hagen & Susanne Mundschenk, 2002. "The Functioning of Economic Policy Coordination," Chapters,in: EMU and Economic Policy in Europe, chapter 7 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    10. Alesina, Alberto & Tabellini, Guido, 1987. "Rules and Discretion with Noncoordinated Monetary and Fiscal Policies," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 25(4), pages 619-630, October.
    11. Tabellini, Guido, 1986. "Money, debt and deficits in a dynamic game," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 427-442, December.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Giovanni Di Bartolomeo & Debora Di Gioacchino, 2008. "Fiscal-monetary policy coordination and debt management: a two-stage analysis," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 35(4), pages 433-448, September.
    2. repec:kap:iaecre:v:11:y:2005:i:1:p:29-38 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Kilian Bizer & Zulia Gubaydullina & Hazim Rahahleh & Werner Sesselmeier, 2007. "FTPL-Perspective on Tradable Deficit Permits in the EMU," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 35(3), pages 259-267, September.
    4. Thierry Warin, 2005. "The Hidden Structural Features of the Fiscal Rule: A European Saga," International Advances in Economic Research, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 11(1), pages 29-38, February.
    5. Giovanni Di Bartolomeo & Debora Di Gioacchino, 2005. "Fiscal-Monetary Policy Coordination And Debt Management: A Two Stage Dynamic Analysis," Macroeconomics 0504024, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Matthias Bauer & Martin Zenker, 2012. "Market Discipline Under A Politicised Multilateral Fiscal Rule - Lessons from the Stability and Growth Pact Debate," Global Financial Markets Working Paper Series 2012-35, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E61 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination
    • E63 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Comparative or Joint Analysis of Fiscal and Monetary Policy; Stabilization; Treasury Policy

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