Silika Prohl, Joakim Westerlund
Using Panel Data to Test for Fiscal Sustainability within the European Union
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Most empirical evidence suggests that the sustainability hypothesis, stating that government revenues and expenditures should cointegrate with a unit slope on expenditures, does not hold within the European Union, a finding at odds with many theoretical models. This paper argues that these results can be attributed in part to the use of inappropriate time-series techniques, and that the use of panel data can generate more accurate tests. By using newly devised panel unit-root and cointegration techniques it is shown that the sustainability hypothesis cannot be rejected when applied to a panel composed of 15 European countries between 1970 and 2004.