Revisiting the Stability and Growth Pact: Grand Design or Internal Adjustment?

39 Pages Posted: 29 Jan 2003

See all articles by Marco Buti

Marco Buti

European Commission, DG II

Sylvester C. W. Eijffinger

Tilburg University (CentER) - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Daniele Franco

Bank of Italy

Date Written: January 2003

Abstract

The Stability and Growth Pact is under fire. Problems have appeared in sticking to the rules. Proposals to reform the Pact or ditch it altogether abound. But is the Pact a flawed fiscal rule? Against established criteria for an ideal fiscal rule, its design and compliance mechanisms fare reasonably well. Where weaknesses are found, they tend to reflect trade-offs typical of supra-national arrangements. In the end, only a higher degree of fiscal integration would remove the inflexibility inherent in the recourse to predefined budgetary rules. This does not mean that the EU fiscal rules cannot be improved. Given the existing degree of political integration in EMU, however, internal adjustment rather than attempting to redesign the rules from scratch appears a more suitable way to bring about progress. Redefining the medium term budgetary target, improving transparency, tackling the pro-cyclical fiscal bias in good times, moving towards non-partisan application of the rules and improving transparency in the data can achieve both stronger discipline and higher flexibility.

Keywords: Fiscal policy, fiscal rules, economic and monetary union, stability and growth pact

JEL Classification: E61, H30, H60, H70

Suggested Citation

Buti, Marco and Eijffinger, Sylvester C. W. and Franco, Daniele, Revisiting the Stability and Growth Pact: Grand Design or Internal Adjustment? (January 2003). CEPR Discussion Paper No. 3692. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=374461

Marco Buti (Contact Author)

European Commission, DG II ( email )

Rue de la Loi 200
Brussels, B-1049
Belgium
+32 2 296 2246 (Phone)
+32 2 299 3505 (Fax)

Sylvester C. W. Eijffinger

Tilburg University (CentER) - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands
+31 13 466 2411 (Phone)
+31 13 466 3042 (Fax)

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.CESifo.de

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Daniele Franco

Bank of Italy ( email )

Via Nazionale 91
Rome, 00184
Italy
+39 06 4792 2793 (Phone)
+39 06 4792 2324 (Fax)

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