The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This paper analyzes the decision of a government facing electoral uncertainty to implement structural reforms in the presence of fiscal restraints similar to the Stability and Growth Pact. The model shows that a pact may harm structural reforms, sacrificing future growth for present stability. The welfare gains brought about by a pact depend on a trade-off between the reduction in the deficit bias and the induced reduction in the amount of structural reform. A pact becomes more attractive (“smarter”) if it takes into account the fiscal impact of structural reforms, in line with a recent proposal by the European Commission.