Fiscal Rules: Make them Easy to Love and Hard to Cheat

2019-03-14T12:32:58-04:00April 13, 2018|

By Xavier Debrun, Luc Eyraud, Andrew Hodge, Victor Lledo, Catherine Pattillo, Abdelhak Senhadji

April 13, 2018

Versions in Español (Spanish), Français (French),  Português  (Portuguese)

The national debt clock in New York City: a fiscal rule, like the debt ceiling, should not be set too low or too high. (photo: Frances M. Roberts/Newscom)

Rules to contain lavish government deficits are most effective if countries design them to be simple, flexible, and enforceable in the face of changing economic circumstances.

In new analysis, we look at fiscal rules in over 90 countries and, based on their experiences, find that the rules put in the place over the last three decades often were too complex, overly rigid, and difficult to enforce. […]

How to Bake a (Cr)edible Medium-term Fiscal Pie

2017-04-15T14:31:12-04:00November 4, 2010|

How can governments have their cake and eat it too? How can fiscal policy provide sufficient support to economic activity, and reassure markets that fiscal solvency is not at risk? The poor state of fiscal accounts of most advanced countries calls for austere fiscal policies, before the confidence crisis that is now hitting a few small advanced economies spreads to the larger ones. But not right now: a frontloaded adjustment—that is a tightening that is not gradual but falls disproportionately early in the adjustment phase—could destabilize the recovery. But can countries limit frontloading and still achieve credibility? Yes, but baking the right fiscal pie is likely to require a number of ingredients. Of course, the exact recipe depends on country circumstances. If you want to know more about this we suggest you savor our newly released Fiscal Monitor. The proof will be in the eating.
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