Roel Beetsma, Xavier Debrun, 29 January 2018

The proliferation of independent fiscal councils raises the question as to how toothless watchdogs can effectively prevent harmful policies. Even though these councils do not control any policy lever, high hopes rest in their ability to foster more stabilising and financially responsible fiscal policies. Are such hopes justified considering sketchy theory and limited evidence? What factors seem to make certain councils more effective than others? And what political conditions are conducive to establishing effective institutions? This column introduces some of the key issues related to the effectiveness of independent fiscal councils and discussed in a new eBook.

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