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