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Some Lessons for Fiscal Policy from the Financial Crisis

Philip R. Lane
IIIS, Trinity College Dublin and CEPR

IIIS Discussion Paper No. 334


The current crisis calls for a re-assessment of the optimal conduct of macroeconomic policies during non-crisis normal times. In particular, the risk and costs of crises can be mitigated by macroeconomic policies that lean against the wind in the face of cyclical, sectoral and external shocks. In this paper, I discuss the challenges involved in deploying fiscal policy in pursuit of a broad definition of macroeconomic stabilisation. The main policy conclusion is that pro-stabilisation fiscal policies are likely to be more effective if fiscal policy is determined under a formal fiscal framework that combines a set of fiscal rules and a substantive role for an independent fiscal policy council.

Keywords: fiscal council, fiscal rules, macroeconomic stabilisation
JEL codes: E62, H60

Last updated 28 August 2014 by IIIS (Email).