Recognising the importance of the tremendous challenges for fiscal policy and rules that exist in the context of the risk of slowdown of the world economy, the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS) and the Initiative for Policy Dialogue at Columbia University (IPD) held their 4th Annual conference jointly with the Brookings Institution on the issue of ‘Fiscal Governance at Times of Slow Growth’ on April 17-18 2016. Following a well-established tradition of holding this conference in the aftermath of the annual World Bank/International Monetary Fund (IMF) meetings in Washington DC, this conference brought together several world-leading economists, policy-makers, experts and International Financial Institutions representatives. The conference was organised in collaboration with the Global Economy and Development Program at the Brookings Institution, and the Global Progressive Forum of the S&D Group in the European Parliament.
The main objective of the conference was to identify and discuss key issues and problems concerning fiscal rules in the current economic environment. These included a discussion of the Fiscal Compact in Europe, and whether there is a need to reform policy and rules, in addition to an analysis of fiscal rules in the developing world, including management of commodity prices and the introduction of counter-cyclicality into fiscal rules.
What is more, this conference also focused on finding short and medium term responses via fiscal policies and rules, as well as on proposing progressive ways for fiscal reform. These included a discussion of ways to allow for more flexibility in fiscal rules, of whether it is time to go back to golden rules so as to allow space for investment, and of how fiscal policy and rules that can contribute to growth.