Fiscal rules and government borrowing costs: international evidence

John Thornton, Chrysovalantis Vasilakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


We find that the adoption of numerical fiscal rules reduces government borrowing costs in a sample of 101 advanced and developing countries for 1985–2010. We apply a variety of propensity score matching methods to address the self-selection problem of policy adoption and find strong evidence that fiscal rules have large and significant treatment effects on lowering government borrowing costs in both international and domestic financial markets. The results are robust to changes in country sample and alternative estimation methodology, and are consistent with fiscal rules helping to build policy credibility by reducing the probability of default and the “risk premium” on government debt that compensates lenders for this possibility. (JEL E43, G12, H60)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)446-459
Number of pages14
JournalEconomic Inquiry
Issue number1
Early online date10 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018

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