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Fiscal Divergence and Business Cycle Synchronization: Irresponsibility is Idiosyncratic

  • Zsolt Darvas
  • Andrew K. Rose
  • György Szapáry

Using a panel of 21 OECD countries and 40 years of annual data, we find that countries with similar government budget positions tend to have business cycles that fluctuate more closely. That is, fiscal convergence (in the form of persistently similar ratios of government surplus/deficit to GDP) is systematically associated with more synchronized business cycles. We also find evidence that reduced fiscal deficits increase business cycle synchronization. The Maastricht “convergence criteria,” used to determine eligibility for EMU, encouraged fiscal convergence and deficit reduction. They may thus have indirectly moved Europe closer to an optimum currency area, by reducing countries’ abilities to create idiosyncratic fiscal shocks. Our empirical results are economically and statistically significant, and robust.

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Paper provided by Department of Mathematical Economics and Economic Analysis, Corvinus University of Budapest in its series Working Papers with number 0504.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2005
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published as an NBER Working Paper No. 11580
Handle: RePEc:mkg:wpaper:0504
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  1. Darvas, Zsolt & Rose, Andrew K & Szapáry, György, 2005. "Fiscal Divergence and Business Cycle Synchronization: Irresponsibility is Idiosyncratic," CEPR Discussion Papers 5188, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Graciela L. Kaminsky & Carmen M. Reinhart & Carlos A. Vegh, 2004. "When it Rains, it Pours: Procyclical Capital Flows and Macroeconomic Policies," NBER Working Papers 10780, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  6. Reinhart, Carmen & Rogoff, Kenneth, 2004. "The modern history of exchange rate arrangements: A reinterpretation," MPRA Paper 14070, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Alberto Alesina & Roberto Perotti, 1996. "Fiscal Adjustments in OECD Countries: Composition and Macroeconomic Effects," NBER Working Papers 5730, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. M. Ayhan Kose & Eswar S. Prasad & Marco E. Terrones, 2003. "How Does Globalization Affect the Synchronization of Business Cycles?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 57-62, May.
  9. Alberto Alesina & Robert Barro & Silvana Tenreyro, 2002. "Optimal Currency Areas," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1958, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    • Alberto Alesina & Robert J. Barro & Silvana Tenreyro, 2003. "Optimal Currency Areas," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2002, Volume 17, pages 301-356 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Barro, Robert & Alesina, Alberto, 2002. "Currency Unions," Scholarly Articles 4551795, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  11. Lane, Philip R., 2003. "The cyclical behaviour of fiscal policy: evidence from the OECD," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(12), pages 2661-2675, December.
  12. Marianne Baxter & Michael Kouparitsas, 2004. "Determinants of business cycle comovement: a robust analysis," Working Paper Series WP-04-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  13. Zsolt Darvas & György Szapáry, 2006. "Business Cycle Synchronization in the Enlarged EU," Working Papers 0604, Department of Mathematical Economics and Economic Analysis, Corvinus University of Budapest.
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  15. Fatás, Antonio & Mihov, Ilian, 2002. "The Case for Restricting Fiscal Policy Discretion," CEPR Discussion Papers 3277, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. Fatás, Antonio & Mihov, Ilian, 2004. "The Macroeconomic Effects of Fiscal Rules in the US States," CEPR Discussion Papers 4372, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Robin L. Lumsdaine & Eswar S. Prasad, 1997. "Identifying the Common Component in International Economic Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 5984, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Marianne Baxter & Robert G. King, 1999. "Measuring Business Cycles: Approximate Band-Pass Filters For Economic Time Series," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(4), pages 575-593, November.
  19. Todd E. Clark & Eric van Wincoop, 1999. "Borders and business cycles," Staff Reports 91, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
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  21. Gerlach, H M Stefan, 1988. "World Business Cycles under Fixed and Flexible Exchange Rates," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 20(4), pages 621-32, November.
  22. Mark Aguiar & Manuel Amador & Gita Gopinath, 2005. "Efficient Fiscal Policy and Amplification," NBER Working Papers 11490, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Alberto Alesina & Roberto Perotti, 1997. "Fiscal Adjustments in OECD Countries: Composition and Macroeconomic Effects," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 44(2), pages 210-248, June.
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