The role of independent fiscal councils in improving fiscal performance of the European Union countries
Research background: Independent fiscal councils are an example of new fiscal institutions, the number of which has rapidly increased around the world, including the EU countries since the global financial crisis of 2008–09. A further deterioration of public finance has provoked many economists to intensify disputes regarding the optimal shape, functions and effectiveness of fiscal councils responsible for promoting sound fiscal policy. Given this, a research focus on independent fiscal councils, active in the public debate in Europe, seems intellectually attractive.
Purpose of the article: This article aims to explore the impact of Independent Fiscal Councils on fiscal performance, paying particular attention to their mandate, tasks and institutional models which can strengthen the achievement of fiscal discipline in the EU countries. In connection with this, the question arises about the effectiveness of fiscal councils, especially in the case of institutions that were compulsorily created under the external pressure (at the European level) and found no strong political support in national parliaments.
Methods: Descriptive analysis along with panel data analysis were implemented to show the role of fiscal councils in enhancing fiscal discipline in the EU countries in years 2006–17 on the basis of data collected by the European Commission.
Findings & Value added: The improvement in fiscal performance and better macroeconomic and budgetary forecasts can be achieved thanks to well-designed fiscal councils supported by appropriate fiscal rules. The conducted analysis confirms that independent fiscal councils are the useful mechanism introducing indirect social control over government revenues and expenditures. This means greater fiscal transparency and lower fiscal illusion between the government and the electorate. Due to the increase in the transparency of public finance, it is possible to reduce the ‘partisan’ deficit bias that contributes to public debt growth. The empirical research extends the existing knowledge on the role of fiscal councils and their impact on fiscal performance.
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