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Domestic Budgets in a United Europe: Fiscal Governance from the End of Bretton Woods to Emu

Domestic Budgets in a United Europe: Fiscal Governance from the End of Bretton Woods to Emu

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Under European Monetary Union, member states lose the ability to steer their economies by manipulating monetary policy. Domestic Budgets in a United Europe, which explains the content, evolution, and effectiveness of fiscal institutions, will be the definitive account of European budget reform in the late twentieth century.

Mark Hallerberg examines the making of budgets in EU countries from 1973 to 2000 and explores why those countries introduced fiscal rules when they did. In 1993, when the fiscal-policy criteria for monetary union were first announced, only Luxembourg and the Republic of Ireland would have qualified. In 1997, only Greece failed. Various explanations have been advanced for this rapid turnaround, including luck (a favorable economic climate reduced pressures on local budgets), accounting tricks, and the increasing pressures caused by international capital mobility.

Underlying these various explanations is a basic skepticism about whether countries in the European Union actively worked to reform their national budgeting procedures. In rich case studies, Hallerberg shows that the member-states did indeed reform their budget institutions. Many of them, he finds, had started that process long before the formal signing of the Maastricht Treaty of 1991, making domestic changes that allowed them to qualify individually under EMU criteria.