Public finances and the new economic governance in the European Union

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This work is an attempt to assess to what extent the new economic governance of the EU helped to discipline public finances in the member states.
The poor institutional design of the EU, the authors point out, magnified the negative fiscal effects of the last financial crisis. The work attempts to examine the degree of fiscal consolidation of member states. Both, the austerity policies, as a method of consolidating public finances, and the so-called non-Keynesian fiscal policy effects have been scrutinized. Moreover, the methods of disciplining public finances in Germany, Great Britain, Hungary and Poland have been thoroughly evaluated.
The specific experience of other Member States has also been taken into account while identifying the advantages and disadvantages of current fiscal consolidation strategies. So as to examine the relationship between the budget balance and other macroeconomic variables as well as to identify changes in the economic potential of the member states and in assessing the economic convergence processes, the work relies on quantitative methods.


Prof. dr hab. Stanisław Owsiak – the long-term head of the Chair of Finance at the Faculty of Finance at the Cracow University of Economics, the holder of an honorary doctorate of the University of Szczecin, a member of the Scientific Council of the Polish Economic Society, the deputy chairman of the Committee for Economic Sciences of the Polish Academy of Sciences, a member of The Committee on Financial Sciences of the Polish Academy, member of the Economic Education Board of Narodowy Bank Polski, the chairman of the Main Committee of the Economic Knowledge Contest.


Reviewed book is the original, innovatory work which contributes to the development of finance science as well as macroeconomics. The authors shed new light on the problems of public finances in the member countries of the European Union. Application of well-chosen research methods, including quantitative methods, allowed them to discover many new dependencies and stylized facts in public finances and macroeconomics. This book is useful reading for economists, financiers, political scientists, economic sociologists, students of economic studies, journalists, politicians and for all who are interested in economics and finance.
Prof. dr hab. Sławomir I. Bukowski
Kazimierz Pułaski University of Technology and Humanities in Radom


Liczba stron532
WydawcaWydawnictwo Naukowe PWN
ISBN-13978-83-01-19916-6
Język publikacjipolski
Informacja o sprzedawcyRavelo Sp. z o.o.

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  Introduction    11
  Chapter 1. Practical dimension of research on public finances    17
  1. Premises for disciplining public finances in the European Union    19
  2. Measures undertaken by the European Union to discipline public finances    22
  3. Research thesis    25
  4. Verification methods    27
    4.1. A qualitative and quantitative approach    27
    4.2. Fiscal consolidation as the basic tool for disciplining public finances    29
    4.3. Budget balance and types of fiscal policy    31
    4.4. Methods of examining the relationship between budget balance and macroeconomic variables    33
    4.5. The matter of non-Keynesian effects of fiscal policy during the crisis    35
    4.6. Method for testing the economic potential of EU countries    36
    4.7. Convergence or economic divergence in Europe    37
  5. Time scope of the study    38
  6. Country selection criteria – case studies    40
  Chapter 2. Concepts of fiscal consolidation    45
  1. Definitional difficulties    47
  2. Controversies over the concept of fiscal consolidation    48
    2.1. Problem of the starting point of consolidation    48
    2.2. Choice of consolidation strategy and macroeconomic effects    50
    2.3. Measuring consolidation    53
    2.4. Criteria for assessing the effects of consolidation    55
  3. Dilemma regarding the choice of consolidation instruments    55
  4. Assessing the sustainability of fiscal consolidation in selected EU countries    59
  5. Summary    63
  Chapter 3. Fiscal supervision as an element of new economic governance in the European Union    65
  1. Treaty bases for coordination of the Member States’ economic and budgetary policies    67
  2. Evolution of fiscal supervision 1992–2005    71
  3. Fiscal supervision as an element of new economic governance    77
    3.1. General concept of change    77
    3.2. New requirements for budgetary frameworks of member states    81
    3.3. Action undertaken to strengthen the surveillance of budgetary positions and the surveillance and coordination of economic policies    83
    3.4. Action to speed up and clarify the excessive deficit procedure    87
    3.5. Enforcement of budgetary surveillance in the euro area    90
    3.6. Mechanism for preventing and correcting macroeconomic imbalances    91
    3.7. Enforcement of correction of excessive macroeconomic imbalances in the euro area    94
  4. Further attempts to strengthen fiscal supervision    95
    4.1. The Fiscal Compact    95
    4.2. ‘The two-pack’    97
  5. Assessment of the reform of the economic governance in the EU    102
  6. Conclusion    114
  Chapter 4. Austerity as a tool of fiscal consolidation – theoretical and empirical perspective    115
  1. Introduction    117
  2. Historical debate    122
  3. Neoliberalism and financialization    128
  4. Macroeconomic performance    131
  5. The justification for austerity    136
  6. Economic crisis and fiscal policy    143
  7. The ideological foundations of supply side economics    153
  8. Brexit and its implications for the UK    161
  9. Conclusion    164
  Chapter 5. Efforts of fiscal consolidation in the United Kingdom    167
  1. Introduction – background of the study    169
    1.1. The sovereign debt crisis and financial stability    171
    1.2. The United Kingdom’s Fiscal Stability Code    171
    1.3. The Maastricht Treaty and fiscal rules    172
  2. The pre-crisis overview    175
    2.1. Macroeconomic imbalances in the UK    175
    2.2. State of public finances before the crisis    178
    2.3. Budgetary forecast before the crisis    179
  3. Analysis of the financial crisis period    180
    3.1. Public sector net debt    182
    3.2. Relative projections and economic performances    183
    3.3. Output gap and real GDP    185
    3.4. The structural deficit    186
  4. Efforts of fiscal consolidation    188
    4.1. Policy implementation under Labour government    188
    4.2. Policy changes under coalition government    189
    4.3. Policy effects on the UK economy    192
    4.4. The UK’s public finances and Brexit    194
      4.4.1. The mechanical effect    194
      4.4.2. The national income effect    195
  5. The policy decision and summary    196
  Chapter 6. Fiscal consolidation in the Federal Republic of Germany    199
  1. Characteristics of fiscal policy in the Federal Republic of Germany 1999–2007    201
  2. Reforms in the public expenditure system    217
  3. Changes in the public revenue system in the years 1999–2007    220
  4. Characteristics of fiscal policy in the Federal Republic of Germany 2008–2015    224
    4.1. State interventionism in response to the crisis: 2008–2010    224
    4.2. Savings policy implemented by the Federal Republic of Germany in 2011–2015    231
  5. German fiscal policy and the business cycle    235
  6. The problem of common monetary policy    242
  7. Socio-economic effects of the fiscal policy of the Federal Republic of Germany    247
  8. Summary    252
  Chapter 7. Fiscal consolidation strategies in Hungary    255
  1. Introduction    257
  2. Excessive deficit in Hungary and scenarios for its correction    258
  3. Medium-term budgetary objective    264
  4. Public debt in Hungary    266
  5. Instruments for disciplining public finances on the expenditure side    269
  6. Scenarios of expenditure adjustments and their implementation    272
  7. Instruments for disciplining public finances on the revenue side    276
  8. Scenarios of revenue adjustments and their implementation    281
  9. Institutional changes favouring fiscal consolidation    288
  10. Evaluation of fiscal consolidation    289
  11. Economic effects of fiscal consolidation    292
  12. Macroeconomic imbalances in Hungary in the period of fiscal consolidation attempts    299
    12.1. Internal imbalances    299
    12.2. External imbalances    302
  13. Conclusions    303
  Chapter 8. Strategies of fiscal consolidation in Poland    305
  1. Introduction    307
  2. Fiscal consolidation in Poland in 2003–2008    308
    2.1. Adaptation measures to the nominal fiscal convergence criterion    308
    2.2. Changes on the revenue side of government institutions sector and local government    320
    2.3. Actions to reduce public spending    323
  3. Impact of 1999 pension reform on the condition of public finances in the period 2004–2015    329
  4. Fiscal policy in Poland in response to the global financial and economic crisis    338
    4.1. New solutions adopted in the Public Finance Act of 2009    338
    4.2. Disciplining public finances in Poland after launching the excessive deficit procedure in 2009    344
  5. Summary    358
  Chapter 9. Testing the dynamic relationships between the public financial sector deficit and the macroeconomic variables in selected EU countries    361
  1. Description of the testing procedure    363
  2. Dynamic modelling results in selected EU economies    366
    2.1. Poland    369
    2.2. The United Kingdom    371
    2.3. Hungary    371
    2.4. Germany    373
    2.5. France    374
    2.6. Sweden    375
  3. Analysis of the impulse response function    377
  4. The results of Granger causality test    383
  5. Summary    386
  Annex    387
  Chapter 10. The impact of the financial crisis on the distribution of total power across the member states of the European Union    395
  1. Introduction    397
  2. The measurement of power and its distribution in the European Union    399
    2.1. The applicability of the power model and its core components    399
    2.2. The distribution of power in the European Union    406
    2.3. Total power and stability at the onset of the recession in the EU    410
  3. Shifts in the stability of total power    413
    3.1. The position during the recession    413
    3.2. The position after the recession    418
    3.3. Economic potential and public spending in the Baltic states    421
  4. The impact of the crisis on the Baltic states and their fiscal responses    422
    4.1. Changes in GDP output from 2006 to 2014    422
    4.2. Changes in the structure of total power and its causes – Poland and the Baltic states    424
    4.3. Drivers of growth and debt compared    427
  5. Conclusion    429
  Chapter 11. Process of economic convergence of European countries    433
  1. Initial remarks    435
  2. Models for cross-section and time-series variables configuration    436
  3. Methods for stratified analysis    441
  4. Initial analysis of GDP per capita ratios variation in European countries in 1950–2015    444
  5. Analysis of moveable dynamics indexes for GDP per capita ratios in European countries    449
  6. Analysis of the ranking of European countries by GDP per capita ratios in selected years    452
  7. Summary    457
  Chapter 12. Options for disciplining public finances – synthesis    459
  1. Condition of public finances as a result of various factors    461
  2. Assessment of the impact of fiscal stimulus on public finances in the European Union countries    462
  3. Convergence or divergence – research results    467
  4. Case study on the assessment of disciplining public finances in the surveyed countries    468
  5. Evaluation of fiscal consolidations    486
  6. Evaluation of the role of new public governance in disciplining public finances    493
  7. Variants for achieving public finance discipline – conclusions for Poland    498
  Annex    503
  Bibliography    509
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