From austerity to expansion? Consolidation, budget surpluses, and the decline of fiscal capacity
In the wake of the financial crisis, most developed countries have entered a period of prolonged budgetary austerity. While the success of austerity programs is still unclear, it is also an open question what success would mean for activist government in the long run. This paper rejects the progressive belief that successful fiscal consolidation will lead to a strengthening of fiscal capacity, arguing that consolidations transform the political context in which fiscal policy is made. By analyzing the evolution of public expenditure in six countries with sustained budget surpluses, it shows that while surpluses were mostly achieved through expenditure cuts, they were predominantly used for cutting taxes. While fiscal crises abated, their collateral damage to public expenditure remained. This result is further elaborated by a case study of the Swedish budget surplus. The paper concludes that consolidations can create a specific type of fiscal regime and thus have long-term consequences for the fiscal capacity of the state.
|Date of creation:||2013|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Paulstr. 3, 50676 Köln|
Phone: + 49 (0) 221-2767-0
Web page: http://www.mpifg.de/
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Agell, Jonas & Englund, Peter & Södersten, Jan, 1996.
"Tax Reform of the Century - The Swedish Experiment,"
Working Paper Series
1996:13, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
- Agell, Jonas & Englund, Peter & Sodersten, Jan, 1996. "Tax Reform of the Century -- the Swedish Experiment," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 49(4), pages 643-64, December.
- Agell, J & Englund, P & Sodersten, J, 1996. "Tax reform of the Century - the Swedish Experiment," Papers 1996-13, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
- Adi Brender & Allan Drazen, 2008. "How Do Budget Deficits and Economic Growth Affect Reelection Prospects? Evidence from a Large Panel of Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 2203-20, December.
- Alberto F. Alesina & Silvia Ardagna, 2012.
"The design of fiscal adjustments,"
NBER Working Papers
18423, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Daniel Leigh & Andrea Pescatori & Jaime Guajardo, 2011. "Expansionary Austerity New International Evidence," IMF Working Papers 11/158, International Monetary Fund.
- Roberto Perotti, 2011.
"The "Austerity Myth": Gain Without Pain?,"
NBER Working Papers
17571, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Alberto Alesina & Roberto Perotti, 1995. "Fiscal Expansions and Fiscal Adjustments in OECD Countries," NBER Working Papers 5214, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Lars Calmfors & Simon Wren-Lewis, 2011.
"What Should Fiscal Councils Do?,"
CESifo Working Paper Series
3382, CESifo Group Munich.
- Calmfors, Lars & Wren-Lewis, Simon, 2010. "What Should Fiscal Councils Do?," Seminar Papers 768, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
- Simon Wren-Lewis & Lars Calmfors, 2011. "What should fiscal councils do?," Economics Series Working Papers 537, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
- Alberto Alesina & Silvia Ardagna, 2010.
"Large Changes in Fiscal Policy: Taxes versus Spending,"
in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 24, pages 35-68
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Alberto F. Alesina & Silvia Ardagna, 2009. "Large Changes in Fiscal Policy: Taxes Versus Spending," NBER Working Papers 15438, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zbw:mpifgd:1316. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (ZBW - German National Library of Economics)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.