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The Euro and Fiscal Policy

  • Antonio Fatas
  • Ilian Mihov

The paper provides and empirical characterization of fiscal policy in the euro area and in a group of twenty-two OECD economies over the period from 1970 until 2007. Using the cyclically-adjusted fiscal balance we document that policy in the euro area has been mildly pro-cyclical. The adoption of the common currency and the constraints imposed by the Stability and Growth Pact have not had a large impact on the cyclical behavior of the structural balance. In contrast, over the past ten years US fiscal policy has become highly countercyclical, which was due predominantly to discretionary changes in tax policies. However, the component of the budget due to automatic stabilizers reacts stronger in the euro-area countries than in the US. We also document the primary balance in the OECD economies is more sensitive to output growth rather than to the output gap, which calls into question the common practice of adjusting structural balances by using elasticities with respect to the output gap.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14722.

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Date of creation: Feb 2009
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Publication status: published as The Euro and Fiscal Policy , Antonio Fatás, Ilian Mihov. in Europe and the Euro , Alesina and Giavazzi. 2010
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14722
Note: ME PE
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  1. Xavier Debrun & Jean Pisani-Ferry & Andr� Sapir, 2008. "Government size and output volatility: should we forsake automatic stabilization?," European Economy - Economic Papers 316, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
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  12. 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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  15. Jacques Mélitz, 2005. "Non-discretionary and automatic fiscal policy in the EU and the OECD," Money Macro and Finance (MMF) Research Group Conference 2005 78, Money Macro and Finance Research Group.
  16. James M. Poterba & Jürgen von Hagen, 1999. "Fiscal Institutions and Fiscal Performance," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number pote99-1, August.
  17. Olivier Blanchard & Roberto Perotti, 2002. "An Empirical Characterization Of The Dynamic Effects Of Changes In Government Spending And Taxes On Output," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1329-1368, November.
  18. Buiter, Willem H. & Grafe, Clemens, 2002. "Patching up the Pact: some Suggestions for Enhancing Fiscal Sustainability and Macroeconomic Stability in an Enlarged European Union," CEPR Discussion Papers 3496, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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