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The quest for a fiscal rule: Italy, 1861-1998


  • Ricciuti, Roberto


The Italian fiscal history is characterised by a number of fiscal consolidations. In this paper we characterise fiscal policy in terms of non-linear deterministic processes. We find that government spending and taxes can be described as being non-linear trend stationary processes instead of unit roots. A long run equilibrium relationship - a non-linear co-trend - does exist between the two series, fulfilling the intertemporal government budget constraint. We interpret this result as evidence of a long run fiscal rule that different policy makers have adopted, putting public finance in balance.

Suggested Citation

  • Ricciuti, Roberto, 2007. "The quest for a fiscal rule: Italy, 1861-1998," POLIS Working Papers 86, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.
  • Handle: RePEc:uca:ucapdv:86

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Henning Bohn, 1998. "The Behavior of U. S. Public Debt and Deficits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(3), pages 949-963.
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    6. Cushman David O., 2002. "Nonlinear Trends and Co-trending in Canadian Money Demand," Studies in Nonlinear Dynamics & Econometrics, De Gruyter, vol. 6(1), pages 1-29, April.
    7. Bierens, Herman J., 1997. "Testing the unit root with drift hypothesis against nonlinear trend stationarity, with an application to the US price level and interest rate," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 29-64, November.
    8. Robert J. Barro, 1986. "The Behavior of United States Deficits," NBER Chapters,in: The American Business Cycle: Continuity and Change, pages 361-394 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Trehan, Bharat & Walsh, Carl E., 1990. "Seigniorage and tax smoothing in the United States 1914-1986," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 97-112, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Piergallini, Alessandro & Postigliola, Michele, 2013. "Non-linear budgetary policies: Evidence from 150 years of Italian public finance," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 121(3), pages 495-498.
    2. repec:bla:coecpo:v:35:y:2017:i:1:p:201-215 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Cushman, David O. & Michael, Nils, 2011. "Nonlinear trends in real exchange rates: A panel unit root test approach," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 30(8), pages 1619-1637.
    4. Giandomenico Piluso & Roberto Ricciuti, 2008. "Fiscal Policy and the Banking System in Italy. Have Taxes, Public Spending and Banks been Procyclical in the Long-Run?," CESifo Working Paper Series 2442, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item


    taxes; government expenditure; intertemporal government budget constraint; non-linear trend stationarity; non-linear co-trending;

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H62 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Deficit; Surplus
    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative

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