National fiscal rules

Numerical fiscal rules implemented at the national level in member countries of the European Union offer useful information on possible reasons for the growing reliance on such rules, and on their implication for fiscal policy. Our analysis of a survey-based dataset suggests that both the introduction of the EU fiscal framework and country-specific fiscal governance features played a role in triggering introduction of numerical fiscal rules, and that the impact of rules is statistically significant, robust, and quantitatively important. Outcomes and rules may be jointly determined by unobserved political factors, but the evidence suggests that causality runs from rules to fiscal behaviour, and that rules specifically designed to prevent conflicts with the stabilization function of fiscal policy are indeed associated with less pro-cyclical policies.

— Xavier Debrun, Laurent Moulin, Alessandro Turrini, Joaquim Ayuso-i-Casals and Manmohan S. Kumar