1887

OECD Economics Department Working Papers

Working papers from the Economics Department of the OECD that cover the full range of the Department’s work including the economic situation, policy analysis and projections; fiscal policy, public expenditure and taxation; and structural issues including ageing, growth and productivity, migration, environment, human capital, housing, trade and investment, labour markets, regulatory reform, competition, health, and other issues.

The views expressed in these papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the OECD or of the governments of its member countries.

English, French

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

The Long-Run Fiscal Reward of Structural Reforms

The recent reform of the Stability and Growth Pact provides more leeway for EU governments to temporarily breach the 3% deficit limit if this facilitates the implementation of initially expensive reforms. But the implementation of this principle is not obvious as budgets would need to specify the initial and multi-annual budgetary cost and benefit profile of reforms. Budgets should also be explicit about the fiscal cost of inaction to allow a balanced judgment of countries? trade-offs between the various options available. This paper first assesses the information requirements to implement this new form of flexibility built into the Stability and Growth Pact. It then provides simulation exercises to highlight the positive budgetary effects of coordinated structural reforms in the euro area as well as the need for an adequate monetary policy response to make sure that demand adjusts to the improved supply conditions swiftly. The budgetary gains would still depend on the type of reform and their impact on employment and productivity. On the other hand, national policy initiatives by a single country may only have a limited impact, especially in the short term and in the case of a large country. Indeed, in monetary union, the strength of endogenous adjustment mechanisms appears to be weaker in larger countries. Finally, the experience of New Zealand and Australia has shown that the longer-term benefits of reforms both in terms of the budget and overall economic performance are significant. Even so, it is not easy to disentangle the various forces at play. Fundamentally, structural reform and the implementation of smart fiscal frameworks tend to go hand in hand ? indeed may be two sides of the same coin.

English

Keywords: fiscal policy, structural reforms, monetary union
JEL: P52: Economic Systems / Comparative Economic Systems / Comparative Studies of Particular Economies; E62: Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics / Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook / Fiscal Policy; E65: Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics / Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook / Studies of Particular Policy Episodes; H6: Public Economics / National Budget, Deficit, and Debt; E37: Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics / Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles / Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles: Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications; E63: Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics / Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook / Comparative or Joint Analysis of Fiscal and Monetary Policy; Stabilization; Treasury Policy
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