What Promotes Fiscal Consolidation: OECD Country Experiences
Posted: 1 Jun 2010
Date Written: May 28, 2007
Fiscal consolidation is required in most OECD countries. This is especially so in view of medium and long-term spending pressures on public finances, related, inter alia, to ageing. Based on a dataset covering a large number of OECD fiscal consolidation episodes starting in the late 1970s, the paper presents evidence, both descriptive and econometric, on macroeconomic conditions and policy set-ups that have been effective in triggering and sustaining fiscal consolidation. Main findings include: Large initial deficits and high interest rates have been important in prompting fiscal adjustment and also in boosting the overall size and duration of consolidation. Concerning the quality of fiscal policies, an emphasis on cutting current expenditures has been associated with overall larger consolidation. Fiscal rules with embedded expenditure targets tended to be associated with larger and longer adjustments, pointing to institutional features playing a potentially important role in generating successful consolation efforts. Experience across countries also shows that certain design features such as transparency, flexibility to face shocks and effective enforcement mechanisms seem important for the effectiveness of fiscal rules.
Keywords: Fiscal consolidation, deficit, public debt, government spending, government revenues, fiscal
JEL Classification: H11, H62, H63
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation