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 provides evidence of fiscal procyclicality, excessive deficits, distorted budget composition and poor compliance with fiscal rules in the euro area. Our analysis relies on real-time data for 19 countries participating in the euro area over 1999-2015. We look for, but do not find, conclusive evidence of bias in procedures in relation to country size. The paper also briefly reviews the literature on political economy factors and policy biases, and offers some reflections on the euro area architecture.