A Simple Proposal for a Debt Related Fiscal Rule
Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung
DE : Duncker & Humblot
471 - 480 p.
The main rationale for fiscal policy rules is the concern for long-term sustainability of public finances, that in a monetary union may affect the other members. Among many other criticisms, the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) has been seen as contradictory or incomplete because it focuses on deficit rather than debt, the main indicator of public finances’ soundness. Furthermore, the few references to debt that were present in the treaties and related regulations are essentially ignored in actual practices. Some of the reform proposals that came out lately have addressed the issue and tried to embed a debt criterion in the Pact. We review these proposals and put forward our own proposed modification: the deficit ratio countries should target is weighted by their relative debt. With respect to the other proposals taking into account debt, our own has the advantages of simplicity, symmetry, and low arbitrariness. To make it politically acceptable to high debt countries, nevertheless, could require to set the targets, at least initially, at level higher than the Maastricht criteria.