The Politics of Budgetary Constraints: Understanding the Variation of National Fiscal Frameworks in the Eurozone
Andreas Eisl (doctoral project)
During the recent European debt crisis, eurozone countries have substantially constrained their fiscal policy discretion by implementing national fiscal frameworks, partially far beyond the requirements agreed upon jointly at the European level. National fiscal frameworks are made up of country-specific configurations of numerical fiscal rules, independent fiscal councils, and correction mechanisms. The smaller the budgetary leeway is that fiscal rules allow for deficits, the greater the fiscal councils’ powers and political voice are; and the more automatic the correction mechanisms are that respond to non-compliance to rules, the stricter a national fiscal framework will be. Situated at the intersection of comparative political economy and the literature on European integration, this doctoral research project aims to explain the variation in the strictness of national fiscal frameworks in the eurozone. Starting from a quantitative analysis of all nineteen eurozone member states from 1995 to the present, it focuses on several qualitative country case studies that draw on interviews with political decision makers, public officials, and experts as well as on qualitative country reports, parliamentary debates, and newspaper articles. The project is part of the cotutelle program between Sciences Po, Paris, and the IMPRS-SPCE, Cologne. Project duration at the MPIfG: October 2016 to July 2017.