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Fiscal Policy and Monetary Union: Is There a Tradeoff between Federalism and Budgetary Restrictions?

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  • Barry Eichengreen
  • Jurgen von Hagen

Abstract

The Maastricht Treaty on Europe Union features an Excessive Deficit Procedure limiting the freedom to borrow of governments participating in the European monetary union. One justification is to prevent states from over- borrowing and demanding a bailout which could divert the European Central Bank from its pursuit of price stability. We challenge this rationale. Using data for a cross section of federal states, we find no association between monetary union and restraints on borrowing by subcentral governments. There is,however, an association between fiscal restraints and the share of the tax base under the control of sub-national authorities. Restraints are prevalent where subcentral governments finance a relatively small share of spending with their own taxes. Lacking control of the tax base, such governments cannot be expected to resort to increased taxation to deal with debt crises. Prohibiting borrowing by subcentral governments will not eliminate the demand for tax smoothing and public investment. Governments whose ability to provide such services is limited may therefore pressure the central government to borrow for them. We report evidence that the financial position of central governments is more fragile where subcentral jurisdictions are prevented from borrowing. The implications for the EU are direct. That EU member states control their own taxes should strengthen the hand of authorities seeking to resist pressure for a bailout. But in the longer run, borrowing restraints may weaken the financial position of Brussels, transferring bailout risk from the member states to the EU itself.

Suggested Citation

  • Barry Eichengreen & Jurgen von Hagen, 1996. "Fiscal Policy and Monetary Union: Is There a Tradeoff between Federalism and Budgetary Restrictions?," NBER Working Papers 5517, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5517 Note: IFM
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    1. Alberto Alesina & Alessandro Prati & Guido Tabellini, 1989. "Public Confidence and Debt Management: A Model and A Case Study of Italy," NBER Working Papers 3135, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Vincent C. Blackburn & Richard Gerlach & Vasilis Sarafidis, 2007. "Dynamic Budgetary Adjustments in the Australian State Government Finance Sector: An Econometric Approach," Journal of Economics and Management, College of Business, Feng Chia University, Taiwan, vol. 3(2), pages 125-159, July.
    2. Mariano Tommasi & Miguel Braun, 2002. "Fiscal Rules for Subnational Governments. Some Organizing Principles and Latin American Experiences," Working Papers 44, Universidad de San Andres, Departamento de Economia, revised Mar 2002.
    3. Kenen, Peter B., 2000. "Currency areas, policy domains, and the institutionalization of fixed exchange rates," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20170, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    4. Thomas D. Willett, "undated". "A Political Economy Analysis of the Maastricht and Stability Pact Fiscal Criteria," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 1999-33, Claremont Colleges.
    5. Eduard Hochreiter & Anton Korinek & Pierre L. Siklos, 2003. "The potential consequences of alternative exchange rate regimes: A study of three candidate regions," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(4), pages 327-349.
    6. Guerguil, Martine & Mandon, Pierre & Tapsoba, René, 2017. "Flexible fiscal rules and countercyclical fiscal policy," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, pages 189-220.
    7. Veronica Grembi & Tommaso Nannicini & Ugo Troiano, 2011. "Policy Responses to Fiscal Restraints: A Difference-in-Discontinuities Design," Working Papers 397, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    8. Edward M. Gramlich & Paul R. Wood, "undated". "Fiscal Federalism and European Integration: Implications for Fiscal and Monetary Policies," International Finance Discussion Papers 0694, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    9. Veronica Grembi & Alvaro Manoel, 2012. "Fiscal rules for subnational governments? Evidence from Latin America," Chapters,in: Decentralization and Reform in Latin America, chapter 12, pages iii-iii Edward Elgar Publishing.
    10. Giuriato, Luisa & Gastaldi, Francesca, 2009. "The domestic stability pact in Italy: a rule for discipline?," MPRA Paper 15183, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Boyer, Robert, 2001. "The Economist Confronted by Epochal Innovations: The Relationships between History and theory," UCAIS Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy, Working Paper Series qt4db8m5dg, UCAIS Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy, UC Berkeley.
    12. Molero, Juan Carlos, 2003. "La Posición De Los Distintos Partidos Políticos Respecto A La Nueva Ley General De Estabilidad Presupuestaria: Su Influjo En Los Niveles Subcentrales De Gobierno
      [The Position Of Different Politica
      ," MPRA Paper 8072, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Ignazio Visco & Barry Eichengreen & Gilles Mourre & Declan Costello & Giuseppe Carone & Nuria Diez Guardia & Bartosz Przywara & Aino Salomäki & Vincenzo Galasso & Mark Weth & Sebastian Schich & Etienn, 2007. "Money, Finance and Demography: The Consequences of Ageing," SUERF Colloquium Volumes, SUERF - The European Money and Finance Forum, number 1 edited by Morten Balling & Ernest Gnan & Frank Lierman.
    14. repec:ejw:journl:v:7:y:2010:i:1:p:4-52 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Juan Carlos Molero & Isabel Rodriguez-Tejedo, 2008. "An index of political support for decentralization: the Spanish case," Faculty Working Papers 05/08, School of Economics and Business Administration, University of Navarra.
    16. Juan Molero & Isabel Rodríguez-Tejedo, 2010. "An index of political support for decentralization: the Spanish case," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 21(1), pages 50-79, March.
    17. Marco Catenaro, 2000. "Macroeconomic Policy Interactions in the EMU: A Case for Fiscal Policy Co-ordination," School of Economics Discussion Papers 0003, School of Economics, University of Surrey.
    18. Bąk Henryk & Maciejewski Sebastian, 2015. "Endogeneity and Specialization in the European Monetary Union," International Journal of Management and Economics, De Gruyter Open, vol. 46(1), pages 7-40, June.
    19. Maria Demertzis & Guntram B. Wolff, 2016. "What are the prerequisites for a euro-area fiscal capacity?," Policy Contributions 16381, Bruegel.
    20. Hochreiter, Eduard & Siklos, Pierre L., 2002. "Alternative exchange-rate regimes: The options for Latin America," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 195-211, December.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook
    • F3 - International Economics - - International Finance

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