Optimal design of new generation Fiscal Rules: coping with the business cycle and discretionary tax reductions

Michel Strawczynski*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While business cycles are crucial for determining the dynamics of government budget deficits, it is rare to find an analysis of optimal fiscal rules that are designed to cope with the asymmetric behavior of fiscal variables during the cycle. In this paper I characterize the dynamics of budget deficits along the cycle: i) in recessions marginal propensity to spend is higher than the coefficient of marginal tax revenues, causing an increase of the deficit over GDP; ii) in expansions tax revenues soar allowing for a deficit reduction; however, marginal spending is still high and consequently a full cycle implies an increase in the deficit. Then, I present a model in which fiscal rules are designed to cope with a political bias that is based on two components: the cyclical bias and discretionary tax reductions. According to my analysis, the new generation fiscal rules should be based on a combination of expenditure and revenue rules, which are newer than budget deficit rules and are becoming widespread. According to my empirically calibrated simulation, this combination of rules succeeds on avoiding the political bias and is more cycle-friendly than a budget deficit rule.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages11
JournalBusiness and Economics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

Published previously as a discussion paper: (Discussion paper series / Feher Institute), Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Federmann School of Public Policy & Government. 2014. 35 pages.


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