Philipp Heimberger, Jakob Kapeller,
"The performativity of potential output: Pro-cyclicality and path dependency in coordinating European fiscal policies"
, in Review of International Political Economy, Vol. 24, Nummer 5, Seite(n) 904-928, 2017
The performativity of potential output: Pro-cyclicality and path dependency in coordinating European fiscal policies
Sprache des Titels:
This paper analyzes the performative impact of the European Commission?s model for estimating ?potential output?, which is used as a yardstick for measuring the ?structural budget balance? of EU countries and, hence, is crucial for coordinating European fiscal policies. In pre-crisis years, potential output estimates promoted the build-up of private debt, housing bubbles and macroeconomic imbalances. After the financial crisis, these model estimates were revised downwards, which increased fiscal consolidation pressures. By focusing on the euro area?s economies during 1999?2014, we show how the model?s estimates influence actual economic outcomes. We identify two major economic impacts of the potential output model. First, the political implications of the model led to pro-cyclical feedback loops, reinforcing prevailing economic developments. Second, the model has contributed to national lock-ins on path dependent debt trajectories, fueling ?structural polarization? between core and periphery countries.