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Home Research areas Public spending and finance Fiscal frameworks and rules

Fiscal frameworks and rules

It is increasingly common for governments around the world to constrain their tax and spending behaviour by setting rules by which they promise to abide and/or by establishing independent fiscal arbiters to assess and pass judgement on their fiscal performance. Fiscal rules were first adopted in the UK in 1997 by the Labour government. These rules have since been reformed by the coalition government, who also set up the independent Office for Budget Responsibility. Our work in this area discusses the pros and cons of different types of fiscal rules and fiscal councils, and assesses successive UK governments’ compliance with their rules.

Selected highlights

This presentation was given at an IFS briefing following the Autumn Statement 2016.
This paper was presented at the Fiscal Rules Roundtable at the Institute for Fiscal Studies on 21 May 2014. This event formed part of a programme of work funded by the ESRC entitled "Combining micro- and macro- economic approaches to fiscal policy evaluation"
Briefing note
This election briefing note describes the government’s fiscal targets and the three main parties’ proposed fiscal stances.


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Carl Emmerson
Deputy Director