OECD Journal on Budgeting

The OECD journal on public sector budgeting, published three times per year. It draws on the best of the recent work of the OECD Working Party of Senior Budget Officials (SBO), as well as special contributions from finance ministries, and makes it available to a wider community in an accessible format. The journal provides insight on leading-edge institutional arrangements, systems and instruments for the allocation and management of resources in the public sector. Now published as a part of the OECD Journal subscription package.

English French

The politics of fiscal austerity

Democracies and hard choices

The sustainability of national economies will ultimately require a balance between near-term growth and longer-term fiscal consolidation. The question that is now being raised is whether such actions are politically sustainable. As the OECD area begins to emerge from the recession, another question is whether democratic countries can take pro-active leadership before a crisis forces their hand. This article examines the politics of fiscal consolidations in OECD countries in recent years, assessing whether and how leaders attempted to resolve the tensions between the fiscal and electoral imperatives.

JEL classification: H610, H620, H630, H680, P160

Keywords: Fiscal consolidation, sustainability of public finances, deficit, debt, Great Recession, financial crisis, political efficacy, democratic institutions, fiscal austerity, economic growth, role of political institutions, budget cuts, fiscal rules, political outcomes


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error