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Planning or propaganda? An evaluation of Germany's medium-term budgetary planning

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  • Heinemann, Friedrich

Abstract

In Germany, the medium-term financial planning ("Mifrifi") was introduced at the end of the sixties. This study scrutinizes the experience of the German Bund with more than thirty years of financial planning. In the first step, the paper explores the potential normative and political-economic driving forces of fiscal projections. The following empirical part evaluates Mifrifi?s forecasting quality with regard to expenditures, taxes and deficits. A model is tested relating the forecasted budgetary trends to economic, institutional and political-economic factors. The financial planning turns out to be ineffective in making budgetary policy more predictable. The projections are heavily biased towards over-optimism. The Maastricht Treaty appears to have transformed Germany?s budgetary planning not into the direction of more credible and binding projections, but rather towards the production of less realistic and unduly favourable outlooks. The policy conclusion hints towards an independent institution taking over the responsibility for fiscal forecasts. Such an institution would not face the government?s inherent problem being unable to promise in a credible way the production of unbiased forecasts.

Suggested Citation

  • Heinemann, Friedrich, 2005. "Planning or propaganda? An evaluation of Germany's medium-term budgetary planning," ZEW Discussion Papers 05-12, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:2902
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Batchelor, Roy, 2007. "Bias in macroeconomic forecasts," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 189-203.
    2. Thiess Buettner & Bjoern Kauder, 2015. "Political biases despite external expert participation? An empirical analysis of tax revenue forecasts in Germany," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 164(3), pages 287-307, September.
    3. repec:mhr:finarc:urn:sici:0015-2218(201706)73:2_213:mffeft_2.0.tx_2-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Roy Batchelor, 2007. "Forecaster Behaviour and Bias in Macroeconomic Forecasts," ifo Working Paper Series 39, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    5. Kappler, Marcus, 2007. "Projecting the Medium-Term: Outcomes and Errors for GDP Growth," ZEW Discussion Papers 07-068, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    6. Niels Gilbert & Jasper de Jong, 2014. "Does the Stability and Growth Pact induce a bias in the EC's fiscal forecasts," DNB Working Papers 451, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    7. Jens Boysen-Hogrefe, 2015. "Konjunkturbereinigungsverfahren der Länder: Eine Quasi-Echtzeitanalyse am Beispiel Schleswig-Holsteins," AStA Wirtschafts- und Sozialstatistisches Archiv, Springer;Deutsche Statistische Gesellschaft - German Statistical Society, vol. 9(1), pages 41-57, April.
    8. Roel Beetsma & Benjamin Bluhm & Massimo Giuliodori & Peter Wierts, 2013. "From Budgetary Forecasts To Ex Post Fiscal Data: Exploring The Evolution Of Fiscal Forecast Errors In The European Union," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 31(4), pages 795-813, October.
    9. International Monetary Fund, 2005. "Republic of Poland; Selected Issues," IMF Staff Country Reports 05/264, International Monetary Fund.
    10. Niels D. Gilbert & Jasper F.M. Jong, 2017. "Do European fiscal rules induce a bias in fiscal forecasts? Evidence from the Stability and Growth Pact," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 170(1), pages 1-32, January.
    11. Roel Beetsma & Benjamin Bluhm & Massimo Giuliodori & Peter Wierts, 2011. "From First-Release to Ex-Post Fiscal Data: Exploring the Sources of Revision Errors in the EU," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 11-080/2, Tinbergen Institute.
    12. Breuer Christian, 2015. "On the Rationality of Medium-Term Tax Revenue Forecasts: Evidence from Germany," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 235(1), pages 22-40, February.
    13. Björn Kauder & Niklas Potrafke & Christoph Schinke, 2017. "Manipulating Fiscal Forecasts: Evidence from the German States," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 73(2), pages 213-236, June.
    14. Simon Luechinger & Christoph Schaltegger, 2013. "Fiscal rules, budget deficits and budget projections," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 20(5), pages 785-807, October.
    15. J. Ayuso-i-Casals & S. Deroose & E. Flores & L. Moulin, 2007. "The role of fiscal rules and institutions in shaping budgetary outcomes," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 275, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Mifrifi; budgetary planning; Stability and Growth Pact;

    JEL classification:

    • H87 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - International Fiscal Issues; International Public Goods
    • H61 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Budget; Budget Systems

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