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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. Barro, Robert J, 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 940-71, October.
  2. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 2001. "Political Institutions and Policy Outcomes: What are the Stylized Facts?," CEPR Discussion Papers 2872, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  4. Galí, Jordi & Perotti, Roberto, 2003. "Fiscal Policy and Monetary Integration in Europe," CEPR Discussion Papers 3933, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  8. Jean Pisani-Ferry & Xavier Debrun & André Sapir, 2008. "Government Size and Output Volatility: Should We Forsake Automatic Stabilization?," IMF Working Papers 08/122, International Monetary Fund.
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  10. Tabellini, Guido & Alesina, Alberto, 1990. "A Positive Theory of Fiscal Deficits and Government Debt," Scholarly Articles 3612769, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  11. André Sapir & Marco Buti, 1998. "Economic policy in EMU," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/8078, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  12. Jonas Fisher, 2000. "Assessing the Effects of Fiscal Shocks," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1499, Econometric Society.
  13. 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.
  14. 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, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1329-1368.
  15. Reinhart, Carmen & Kaminsky, Graciela & Vegh, Carlos, 2004. "When it rains, it pours: Procyclical capital flows and macroeconomic policies," MPRA Paper 13883, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  16. Nathalie Girouard & Christophe André, 2005. "Measuring Cyclically-adjusted Budget Balances for OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 434, OECD Publishing.
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  18. James M. Poterba & Jürgen von Hagen, 1999. "Fiscal Institutions and Fiscal Performance," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number pote99-1, March.
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  23. 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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