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Vertical aspects of sub-national deficits: the impact of fiscal rules and tax autonomy in European countries


  • Foremny, Dirk


This article offers an empirical answer to the question of which institutional arrangements can help to keep the accounts of sub-national governments in balance. I take into consideration the autonomy that these governments have in raising their revenues and fiscal rules as formulated in law or constitutions. The former works as an implicit constraint since governments with more autonomy might assume higher responsibility for accumulated deficits. The latter works as a direct explicit constraint on sub-national borrowing, but might be subject to endogeneity through preferences for fiscal responsibility. This potential source of bias is taken into account by using IV techniques for fiscal rules. Results from my original dataset, covering full information for 14 years of all EU15 countries, show that the effectiveness of tools depends critically on the federal background. Fiscal rules work in unitary countries, while higher tax autonomy yields lower deficits in federations.

Suggested Citation

  • Foremny, Dirk, 2011. "Vertical aspects of sub-national deficits: the impact of fiscal rules and tax autonomy in European countries," MPRA Paper 32998, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:32998

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Foremny, Dirk, 2014. "Sub-national deficits in European countries: The impact of fiscal rules and tax autonomy," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 86-110.
    2. Ellegård, Lina Maria, 2013. "Divided We Fall. Conflicts of Interests Regarding Fiscal Discipline in Municipal Hierarchies," Working Papers 2013:42, Lund University, Department of Economics.
    3. Julia Bachtrögler & Harald Badinger & Aurélien Fichet de Clairfontaine & Wolf Heinrich Reuter, 2014. "Summarizing Data using Partially Ordered Set Theory: An Application to Fiscal Frameworks in 97 Countries," Department of Economics Working Papers wuwp181, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Department of Economics.
    4. Lars P. Feld & Alexander Kalb & Marc-Daniel Moessinger & Steffen Osterloh, 2013. "Sovereign Bond Market Reactions to Fiscal Rules and No-Bailout Clauses - The Swiss Experience," CESifo Working Paper Series 4195, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. Heinemann, Friedrich & Osterloh, Steffen & Kalb, Alexander, 2014. "Sovereign risk premia: The link between fiscal rules and stability culture," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 110-127.

    More about this item


    sub-national deficits; fiscal rules; soft budget constraints; fiscal federalism;

    JEL classification:

    • H71 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H74 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Borrowing
    • E61 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination

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