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Roberta De Stefani

19 November 2014
In the light of the lessons learned from the euro area sovereign debt crisis, the EU fiscal and macroeconomic governance framework was overhauled in 2011. Against this background, this paper analyses whether the broadened surveillance of fiscal and macroeconomic indicators under the strengthened governance framework would have facilitated the identification of emerging imbalances, had it been in place before the crisis. The findings suggest that the strengthened governance framework would have given earlier signals about emerging excessive fiscal and macroeconomic imbalances. Euro area countries thus would have been obliged to take preventive and corrective action at an earlier stage, provided that the stricter rules had been effectively implemented. At the same time, the paper concludes that the increased reliance of the EU fiscal governance framework on unobservable magnitudes such as the structural budget balance, which are difficult to measure in real time, will continue to impede the timely identification of underlying fiscal imbalances. It is suggested that the new macroeconomic imbalance procedure could have given earlier indications about the emergence of excessive macroeconomic imbalances, which in turn posed risks for fiscal sustainability. Looking forward, these preliminary findings suggest possible synergies between the, until now largely unrelated, fiscal and macroeconomic governance frameworks.
JEL Code
H3 : Public Economics→Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents
H6 : Public Economics→National Budget, Deficit, and Debt
E02 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→General→Institutions and the Macroeconomy
E61 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook→Policy Objectives, Policy Designs and Consistency, Policy Coordination
10 April 2017
The euro area sovereign debt crisis has highlighted the importance of reducing public debt levels and building up sufficient fiscal buffers during normal and good times. It has also reaffirmed the need for a thorough debt sustainability analysis (DSA) to act as a warning system for national policies. This paper introduces a comprehensive DSA framework for euro area sovereigns that could be used for analysis of fiscal risks and vulnerabilities. Specifically, this framework consists of three main building blocks: (i) a deterministic DSA, which embeds debt simulations under a benchmark and various narrative shock scenarios; (ii) a stochastic DSA, providing for a probabilistic approach to debt sustainability; and (iii) other relevant indicators capturing liquidity and solvency risks. The information embedded in the three main DSA blocks can be summarised in a heat map, which can provide guidance on the overall assessment of risks to debt sustainability. This method reflects the need to have a broad-based assessment, cross-checking information and perspectives from various sources with a view to deriving a robust debt sustainability assessment.
JEL Code
E62 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook→Fiscal Policy
H62 : Public Economics→National Budget, Deficit, and Debt→Deficit, Surplus
H63 : Public Economics→National Budget, Deficit, and Debt→Debt, Debt Management, Sovereign Debt
H68 : Public Economics→National Budget, Deficit, and Debt→Forecasts of Budgets, Deficits, and Debt