Fiscal Rules Dataset

1985 - 2021

IMF Fiscal Affairs Department
January, 2022

What are Fiscal Rules? A fiscal rule is a long-lasting constraint on fiscal policy through numerical limits on budgetary aggregates. Fiscal rules typically aim at correcting distorted incentives and containing pressures to overspend, particularly in good times, so as to ensure fiscal responsibility and debt sustainability. The dataset focuses on de-jure arrangements and not to what degree rules have been adhered in practice. The criteria to be included as fiscal rules are listed in Davoodi, Elger, Fotiou, Garcia-Macia, Lagerborg, Lam, and Pillai (2022).

About this Dataset: It provides systematic information on the use and design of fiscal rules covering national and supranational fiscal rules in 106 economies from 1985 to 2021. The dataset covers four types of rules: budget balance rules (BBR), debt rules (DR), expenditure rules (ER), and revenue rules (RR), applying to the central or general government or the public sector. The dataset presents details on various characteristics of rules, such as their legal basis, coverage, escape clauses, stabilization properties, as well as enforcement procedures, and takes stock of key supporting features that are in place, including independent monitoring bodies and fiscal responsibility laws. It builds on the previous 2015 version prepared by Lledó, Yoon, Fang, Mbaye, and Kim (2017).

Suggested Citation: Davoodi, Hamid, Paul Elger, Alexandra Fotiou, Daniel Garcia-Macia, Andresa Lagerborg, Raphael Lam, and Sharanya Pillai. 2022. "Fiscal Rules Dataset: 1985-2021", International Monetary Fund, Washington, D.C.

Downloads: Working Paper | Dataset | Technical Manual

Previous vintage: Fiscal Rules Dataset 1985-2015 (Lledó, Yoon, Fang, Mbaye, and Kim, 2017) | Staff Discussion Note (Eyraud, Debrun, Hodge, Lledó, and Pattillo, 2018)

Link to Fiscal Council Dataset (Davoodi, Elger, Fotiou, Garcia-Macia, Lagerborg, Lam, and Pillai, 2022)

(Editor's note: last update in December 2022 to reflect a correction)

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Rules - Map

Note: The boundaries, colors, denominations, and any other information shown on the maps do not imply, on the part of the International Monetary Fund, any judgment on the legal status of any territory or any endorsement or acceptance of such boundaries.

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Contact: The dataset is maintained by the IMF Fiscal Affairs Department. It is an ongoing project and we welcome suggestions to enhance coverage. Please send your comments/suggestions and queries to