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Fiscal Rules in Times of Crisis


  • Bandaogo,Mahama Abdel Samir Sidbewende


As governments around the world struggle to piece together the most effective fiscal response to counter the economic and social impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, some are facing constraints imposed by fiscal rules enacted in the past to ensure fiscal discipline. The outbreak has revealedthe weaknesses and inappropriateness of many existing fiscal rules, and authorities should take the opportunity to strengthen their fiscal rules by adopting features that make them more flexible, operational, and enforceable. Research shows that the de facto strength and credibility of the fiscal rule is what matters for fiscal discipline, not the mere de jure existence of one. As important as it is that fiscal rules include contingencies to accommodate large and effective fiscal responses to severe and unprecedented crises, it is also as important that fiscal rules provide clear guidance for building up savings in times of positive shocks.

Suggested Citation

  • Bandaogo,Mahama Abdel Samir Sidbewende, 2020. "Fiscal Rules in Times of Crisis," Research and Policy Briefs 150920, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbkrpb:150920

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    4. Aart Kraay, 2012. "How large is the Government Spending Multiplier? Evidence from World Bank Lending," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(2), pages 829-887.
    5. Caselli, Francesca & Reynaud, Julien, 2020. "Do fiscal rules cause better fiscal balances? A new instrumental variable strategy," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 63(C).
    6. Bergman, U. Michael & Hutchison, Michael M. & Jensen, Svend E. Hougaard, 2016. "Promoting sustainable public finances in the European Union: The role of fiscal rules and government efficiency," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 1-19.
    7. Allen Schick, 2010. "Post-Crisis Fiscal Rules: Stabilising Public Finance while Responding to Economic Aftershocks," OECD Journal on Budgeting, OECD Publishing, vol. 10(2), pages 1-18.
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    RePEc Biblio mentions

    As found on the RePEc Biblio, the curated bibliography for Economics:
    1. > Economics of Welfare > Health Economics > Economics of Pandemics > Policy responses > Macroeconomic

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