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Stefan Van Parys

11 January 2022
OCCASIONAL PAPER SERIES - No. 288
Details
Abstract
A key element of the European reform agenda is to simplify the EU fiscal governance framework by moving towards a single debt anchor and a single operational indicator as the basis for formulating fiscal targets and assessing compliance. This paper puts forward an in-depth analysis of two alternative fiscal performance indicators currently used in the EU fiscal framework: the change in the structural balance and the expenditure benchmark. Comparing these two indicators allows us to identify options for the design of a fiscal performance measure – such as assumptions on cyclical adjustment and the inclusion of fiscal variables – and assess their policy impact. Our paper finds that the expenditure benchmark used in the EU fiscal governance framework has advantages over the change in the structural balance. However, it still has scope for improvement. The paper also shows that taking account of interest payments in the expenditure benchmark would make fiscal policy more supportive of the monetary policy stance.
JEL Code
C54 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric Modeling→Quantitative Policy Modeling
E62 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook→Fiscal Policy
E65 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook→Studies of Particular Policy Episodes
F54 : International Economics→International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy→Colonialism, Imperialism, Postcolonialism
F47 : International Economics→Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance→Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
8 April 2020
OCCASIONAL PAPER SERIES - No. 239
Details
Abstract
After the financial and economic crisis in Europe, a broad consensus has emerged that a stronger fiscal dimension may be needed to complete the architecture of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). This paper analyses the performance of interregional transfers in existing fiscal-federal systems, notably in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Spain and the United States, and aims to draw lessons for the design of a euro area fiscal instrument. The empirical risk-sharing analysis in this paper suggests that effective cross-regional stabilisation of asymmetric shocks tends to work via direct cash transfers to households, such as unemployment benefits, which are financed out of cyclical central government taxes and social security contributions. This would suggest that a euro area budgetary instrument for stabilisation should be designed as a tool that enhances the automatic stabilisation capacity in the single currency area. At the same time, it seems important that a prospective central stabilisation instrument for the euro area would be integrated in an overall fiscal policy framework that ensures proper incentives for national policymakers.
JEL Code
E62 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook→Fiscal Policy
H11 : Public Economics→Structure and Scope of Government→Structure, Scope, and Performance of Government
H77 : Public Economics→State and Local Government, Intergovernmental Relations→Intergovernmental Relations, Federalism, Secession