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.
The issue of whether constraints should be placed on fiscal policies when moving to European monetary union is examined in the context of the use of fiscal policy for macroeconomic stabilization purposes. Examples of shocks hitting French and German economies are considered: an appreciation of their joint exchange rate against other currencies, an inflation shock, and an oil price increase. Except in the third case, flexible use of fiscal policies in the two countries is likely to give better outcomes than a system with constraints on their use. For the oil price shock, there seems to be a good case for policy coordination, not for ceilings on fiscal deficits.