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Fiscal Divergence and Business Cycle Synchronization: Irresponsibility is Idiosyncratic

  • Zsolt Darvas

    ()

    (Corvinus University, Budapest)

  • Andrew K. Rose

    ()

    (Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley)

  • György Szapáry

    ()

    (Magyar Nemzeti Bank)

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 Magyar Nemzeti Bank (Central Bank of Hungary) in its series MNB Working Papers with number 2005/03.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mnb:wpaper:2005/03
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.mnb.hu/

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  1. Baxter, Marianne & Kouparitsas, Michael A., 2005. "Determinants of business cycle comovement: a robust analysis," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 113-157, January.
  2. Zsolt Darvas & Andrew K. Rose & György Szapáry, 2005. "Fiscal Divergence and Business Cycle Synchronization: Irresponsibility is Idiosyncratic," NBER Working Papers 11580, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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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  6. Darvas, Zsolt & Szapáry, György, 2005. "Business Cycle Sychronization in the Enlarged EU," CEPR Discussion Papers 5179, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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