Economics at your fingertips  

Fiscal Rules and Discretion with Risk of Default

Chiara Felli, Facundo Piguillem () and Liyan Shi

No 16211, CEPR Discussion Papers from C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers

Abstract: It is widely believed that governments tend to overaccumulate debt, which gives rise to the need for fiscal rules. This paper studies the optimal fiscal and default rules when governments can default on their debt obligations. We build a continuous-time model that encompasses the standard rationale for debt overaccumulation: hyperbolic discounting and political economy frictions. In addition, governments are subject to taste shocks, which makes spending optimally random. Since shocks are private information, there is a trade-off between rules and discretion. We derive the optimal fiscal rules which are debt-dependent only when default is possible. Depending on the severity of the spending bias and the cost of default, the optimal fiscal rules range from strict debt limits, complemented by strong deficit limits, to the absence of all rules. In intermediate cases, debt-dependent deficit limits must be complemented with default rules, with some areas where default is banned and others where default is mandatory.

Keywords: fiscal rules; Government Debt; sovereign default; Spending bias (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: E6 E62 H1 H6 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021-06
References: Add references at CitEc
Citations: Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link) (application/pdf)
CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

Ordering information: This working paper can be ordered from ... rs/dp.php?dpno=16211

Access Statistics for this paper

More papers in CEPR Discussion Papers from C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers Centre for Economic Policy Research, 33 Great Sutton Street, London EC1V 0DX.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by ().

Page updated 2022-09-20
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:16211