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Private Enforcement of the German Debt Brake

Hauser Patrick ()
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Hauser Patrick: Institute for Competition Law, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Juristische Fakultät, Universitätsstraße 1, Geb. 24.81, 40225, Düsseldorf, Germany

The Economists' Voice, 2022, vol. 19, issue 1, 87-95

Abstract: The purpose of the “debt brake” laid down in the German constitution is to limit public debt. However, public law mechanisms are unsuited in practice to prevent excessive government deficits. This article argues that, contrary to the prevailing opinion, the effects of the debt brake are not limited to public law. Rather, infringements of the debt brake may result in civil law consequences. It is argued that state loans or bonds violating the debt brake may be null and void and the parties in this case must make restitution under unjust enrichment law. Therefore, (potential) creditors have an interest to monitor government borrowing. A form of "private enforcement" of the debt brake is, therefore, possible.

Keywords: German debt brake; private enforcement; public debt; public deficit (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1515/ev-2022-0005

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