Real-Time Determinants of Fiscal Policies in the Euro Area: Fiscal Rules, Cyclical Conditions and Elections
55 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2007
Date Written: December 2006
We examine the impact of four factors on the fiscal policies of the euro-area countries over the last two decades: the state of public finances, the European fiscal rules, cyclical conditions and general elections. We rely on information actually available to policy-makers at the time of budgeting in constructing our explanatory variables. Our estimates indicate that policies have reacted to the state of public finances in a stabilizing manner. The European rules have significantly affected the behaviour of countries with excessive deficits. Apart from these cases, the rules appear to have reaffirmed existing preferences. We find a relatively large symmetrical counter-cyclical reaction of fiscal policy and strong evidence of a political budget cycle. The electoral manipulation of fiscal policy, however, occurs only if the macroeconomic context is favourable.
Keywords: fiscal policy, real-time information, euro-area countries, stabilisation policies, fiscal rules, political budget cycle
JEL Classification: E61, D72, E62, H60
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation