Logo Logo
Switch Language to German

Potrafke, Niklas; Riem, Marina and Schinke, Christoph (May 2016): Debt brakes in the German states. Governments’ rhetoric and actions. In: German Economic Review, Vol. 17, No. 2: pp. 253-275

Full text not available from 'Open Access LMU'.


In 2009, a new law on German debt brakes was passed: state governments are not allowed to run structural deficits after 2020. Consolidation strategies initiated between 2009 and 2020 influence if a state can comply with the debt brake in 2020. We describe to what extent government ideology predicts if state governments consolidate budgets and which fiscal adjustment path they choose. Attitudes toward budget consolidation, as expressed by politicians’ rhetoric in the public debate, differed among parties. Anecdotal evidence and descriptive statistics indicate that leftwing governments ran on average higher structural deficits than rightwing governments between 2010 and 2014. Primary deficits, however, hardly differed under leftwing and rightwing governments. Revenues of federal taxes were much higher than expected and facilitated budget consolidation. Leftwing governments did not need to run deficits to design generous budgets. It is conceivable that parties confirmed their identity by using expressive rhetoric, but responded to shifts in public opinion after the financial crisis and pursued more sustainable fiscal policies when in office.

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item