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Fiscal rules and compliance expectations: Evidence for the German debt brake

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  • Heinemann, Friedrich
  • Janeba, Eckhard
  • Schröder, Christoph
  • Streif, Frank

Abstract

Fiscal rules have become popular to limit deficits and high debt burdens in industrialized countries. A growing literature examines their impact based on aggregate fiscal performance. So far, no evidence exists on how fiscal rules influence deficit expectations of fiscal policy makers. In the context of the German debt brake, we study this expectation dimension. In a first step, we introduce a simple dynamic model in an environment characterized by the lagged implementation of a new rule. Lagged implementation characterizes the setup of the German debt brake and raises credibility issues. In a second step, we analyze a unique survey of members of all 16 German state parliaments and show that the debt brake's credibility is far from perfect. The heterogeneity of compliance expectations in the survey closely corresponds to our theoretical predictions regarding states' initial fiscal conditions, specific state fiscal rules and bailout perceptions. In addition, there is a robust asymmetry in compliance expectations between insiders and outsiders (both for in-state vs out-of-state politicians and the government vs opposition dimension), which we attribute to overconfidence rather than noisy information. These results suggest that national fiscal rules can be strengthened through nobailout rules, sustainable initial fiscal conditions and complementary sub-national rules.

Suggested Citation

  • Heinemann, Friedrich & Janeba, Eckhard & Schröder, Christoph & Streif, Frank, 2014. "Fiscal rules and compliance expectations: Evidence for the German debt brake," ZEW Discussion Papers 14-034, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:14034
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Johannes Blum & Klaus Gründler & Raphael de Britto Schiller & Niklas Potrafke, 2019. "Die Schuldenbremse in der Diskussion – Teilnehmer des Ökonomenpanels mehrheitlich für Beibehaltung," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 72(22), pages 27-33, November.
    2. Janeba, Eckhard & Steinbach, Armin, 2019. "Compliance effects of sovereign debt cuts," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(C).
    3. Blesse Sebastian & Berger Melissa & Heinemann Friedrich & Janeba Eckhard, 2017. "Föderalismuspräferenzen in der deutschen Bevölkerung," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, De Gruyter, vol. 18(2), pages 145-158, June.
    4. Friedrich Heinemann & Eckhard Janeba & Marc-Daniel Moessinger & Christoph Schröder, 2015. "Who Likes to Fend for Oneself? Revenue Autonomy Preferences of Subnational Politicians in Germany," Publius: The Journal of Federalism, Oxford University Press, vol. 45(4), pages 653-685.
    5. Maaser, Nicola & Stratmann, Thomas, 2018. "Election rules, legislators' incentives, and policy outcomes: Evidence from the mixed member system in Germany," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 227-239.
    6. Tsuyoshi Goto & Genki Yamamoto, 2018. "Creative Accounting and Municipal Mergers -A Theoretical and Empirical Approach-," OSIPP Discussion Paper 18E012, Osaka School of International Public Policy, Osaka University.
    7. Asatryan, Zareh & Castellón, César & Stratmann, Thomas, 2018. "Balanced budget rules and fiscal outcomes: Evidence from historical constitutions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 167(C), pages 105-119.
    8. Blesse, Sebastian & Boyer, Pierre C. & Heinemann, Friedrich & Janeba, Eckhard & Raj, Anasuya, 2019. "European Monetary Union reform preferences of French and German parliamentarians," ZEW Discussion Papers 17-059, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    9. Mathias Dolls & Nils Wehrhofer, 2018. "Attitudes towards Euro Area Reforms: Evidence from a Randomized Survey Experiment," EconPol Working Paper 11, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    10. Zhiyong An & Yilin Hou, 2020. "Debt authority and intentional overstatement of budgetary deficit: evidence from Chinese Provinces," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 27(2), pages 461-477, April.
    11. Bram Gootjes & Jakob de Haan & Richard Jong-A-Pin, 2019. "Do fiscal rules constrain political budget cycles?," DNB Working Papers 634, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    12. Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2017. "The debt brake of the German states: a faulty design?," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 28(3), pages 257-269, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Budget Deficits; Debt Brake; Credibility; Survey; Fiscal Rules;

    JEL classification:

    • H6 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt
    • H7 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations

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