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The cyclically-adjusted budget balance in EU fiscal policy making : A love at first sight turned int

Martin Larch and Alessandro Turrini, European Commission

The cyclically-adjusted budget balance in EU fiscal policy making : A love at first sight turned into a mature relationship - Martin Larch and Alessandro Turrinipdf(682 kB) Choose translations of the previous link 

Summary for non-specialistspdf(74 kB) Choose translations of the previous link pdf


The cyclically-adjusted budget balance (CAB) plays a key role in the fiscal surveillance framework of the Economic and Monetary Union. It started off in a supporting role in the shadow of the headline deficit and, before long, turned into the linchpin of the rules and requirements of the Stability and Growth Pact. The steep ascent was driven by high hopes and expectations which, with the passing of time were only partly met. The everyday practice of the EU fiscal surveillance rapidly revealed a number of caveats of the instrument which, at times, hampered the effectiveness of fiscal surveillance.

This paper provides a comprehensive review of the changing fortunes of the CAB in the EU fiscal surveillance framework. It portrays its main shortcomings and the way they can be dealt with in practice. As an overall conclusion the paper argues that, although the CAB is not devoid of problems and imperfections, it is superior to the headline deficit in most respects.


JEL classification: E61, H3, H6
DOI:10.2765/32444

(European Economy. Economic Papers. 374. March 2009. Brussels. pdf. 46pp. Tab. Graph. Ann. Bibliogr. Free.)

KC-AI-09-374-EN-N (online)
ISBN 978-92-79-11185-3 (online)
ISSN 1725-3187

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