Medium Term Expenditure Frameworks: Credible Instrument or Mirage?

Ringa Raudla, James W. Douglas, Muiris MacCarthaigh

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Medium term expenditure frameworks (MTEFs) are typically viewed as instruments to expand budget horizons beyond one year and to limit spending growth over the medium term (usually 3 to 5 years). In response to the fiscal crisis and EU requirements, many countries in Europe have adopted MTEFs over the past decade. We use elite interviews to examine whether the formal enactment of such frameworks has led to changes in actual budget practices in Finland, Austria, Portugal, and Ireland. Our analysis shows that the newly adopted MTEFs have not acted as binding constraints on fiscal policy.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPublic Budgeting and Finance
Early online date15 Mar 2022
Publication statusEarly online date - 15 Mar 2022


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