Fiscal Targeting

Abstract

Fiscal rules are widely used to constrain policy decisions and promote fiscal discipline, but the design of flexible yet effective rules has proved a formidable task. In this paper, we propose to implement fiscal constraints through a fiscal targeting framework, paralleling central banks' move from monetary rules to inflation targeting. Under fiscal targeting, fiscal policy makers must optimally balance some fiscal objectives (e.g., keeping the deficit below 3%) with their own policy objectives (e.g., stabilizing output at potential). Fiscal targeting can be implemented with minimal assumption on the underlying economic model, and it promises a number of benefits over commonly used fiscal rules: (i) stronger buy-in from policy makers, (ii) higher fiscal discipline, (iii) transparency and ease of monitoring.