Since the 1990s many OECD countries have adopted fiscal rules. After the adoption of these rules, the ratio of social transfers to government consumption substantially declined, and it recovered following the global economic crisis. Using a sample of 22 OECD countries, we found a negative effect of fiscal rules on the ratio of social transfers to government consumption. This finding implies that fiscal rules are effective, but not necessarily binding. Our examination reveals that the negative effect of fiscal rules on the social transfers to government consumption ratio is particularly evident in countries with relatively weak legal protection to social rights.