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The elusive costs and the immaterial gains of fiscal contraints

We study whether and how fiscal restrictions alter the business cycle features macrovariables for a sample of 48 US states. We also examine the 'typical' transmission properties of fiscal disturbances and the implied fiscal rules of states with different fiscal restrictions. Fiscal constraints are characterized with a number of indicators. There are similarities in second moments of macrovariables and in the transmission properties of fiscal shocks across states with different fiscal constraints. The cyclical response of expenditure differs in size and sometimes in sign, but heterogeneity within groups makes point estimates statistically insignificant. Creative budget accounting is responsible for the pattern. Implications for the design of fiscal rules and the reform of the Stability and Growth Pact are discussed.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in its series Economics Working Papers with number 928.

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Date of creation: Dec 2005
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Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:928
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.econ.upf.edu/

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  20. Duarte, Margarida & Wolman, Alexander L., 2002. "Regional inflation in a currency union: fiscal policy vs. fundamentals," Working Paper Series 0180, European Central Bank.
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  25. Fabio Canova & Evi Pappa, 2003. "Price differentials in monetary unions: The role of fiscal shocks," Economics Working Papers 923, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Jun 2005.
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  28. Henning Bohn & Robert P. Inman, . "Balanced Budget Rules and Public Deficits: Evidence from the U.S. States (Reprint 060)," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 10-96, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
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