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Improving Fiscal Performance Through Fiscal Councils

  • Robert P. Hagemann
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    There is growing interest in the role of independent fiscal institutions, or fiscal councils, in helping to improve fiscal performance. This paper provides some guidance on the scope for improving fiscal performance through fiscal councils based on the available literature and the range of fiscal institutions in the OECD countries. The effectiveness of fiscal councils hinges on several factors, including having full autonomy within the scope of their mandates, active and unfettered dissemination of their analysis and their credibility. Experience and empirical evidence suggest that delegating macroeconomic forecasting to an independent fiscal council can indeed reduce forecasting bias. There is some empirical evidence that independent fiscal institutions can buttress a government’s capacity to comply with a numerical rule. Good fiscal institutions are a necessary condition for achieving disciplined fiscal performance. Experience demonstrates, however, that their existence is not sufficient. Without strong and sustained political commitment to a medium-term fiscal goal and, where relevant, to the mandate of a fiscal council, durable improvements in fiscal performance will remain elusive. This working paper relates to the 2010 OECD Economic Survey of the Euro Area ( Améliorer la performance budgétaire à travers des conseils budgétaires Un intérêt croissant est accordé au rôle des institutions budgétaires indépendantes, ou conseils budgétaires, pour contribuer à l’amélioration des résultats budgétaires. Ce document fournit quelques indications sur la possibilité d’améliorer ces résultats par le biais des conseils budgétaires, en se basant sur la littérature existante et sur la gamme des institutions budgétaires dans les pays de l’OCDE. L’efficacité des conseils budgétaires dépend de plusieurs facteurs, notamment de leur entière indépendance dans l’exercice de leur mandat, d’une communication active et sans restrictions de leurs analyses et de leur crédibilité. L’expérience et les données empiriques montrent que déléguer les prévisions macroéconomiques à un conseil budgétaire indépendant peut effectivement réduire les erreurs de prévision. Selon les données empiriques, les institutions budgétaires indépendantes peuvent étayer la capacité d’un gouvernement à respecter une règle numérique. De bonnes institutions budgétaires sont une condition nécessaire pour la discipline budgétaire. Toutefois, l’expérience montre que leur existence ne suffit pas. Sans un engagement politique fort et durable envers un objectif budgétaire à moyen terme et, le cas échéant, envers le mandat d’un conseil budgétaire, des améliorations pérennes de la performance budgétaire resteront illusoires. Ce document de travail a été réalisé dans le cadre de l'Étude économique de la Zone euro 2010. (

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    Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 829.

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    Date of creation: 10 Dec 2010
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    Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:829-en
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