On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Swiss “Debt Brake,” the Study Center Gerzensee organized a conference on fiscal institutions, joint with the Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics, the Federal Finance Administration and the Universities of Lucerne and St. Gallen. The program can be viewed here (PDF).
A few tidbits: Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf (President of the Swiss Confederation) emphasized the importance of “rigor and flexibility” as well as democratic legitimacy for the success of the Swiss debt brake rule.
Against the background of his experience at the Congressional Budget Office, Barry Anderson (National Governors Association) stressed the importance of the personality of the head of an independent fiscal institution: What is needed, in his view, is a low key technician who avoids the limelight.
Guido Tabellini (Bocconi University) argued that a successful budgetary framework needs to be consistent with the political system. Rules on the local level can be stricter and simpler because of transfers on the national level and national enforcement possibilities. Enforcement requires public support and thus, understanding by voters.
Similarly, Joakim Sonnegård (Swedish Fiscal Policy Council) argued in favor of self-enforcing mechanisms and institutionalized memory of bad times.