Fiscal Rules Dataset

1985 - 2015

IMF Fiscal Affairs Department
March, 2017

What are Fiscal Rules? A fiscal rule imposes 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.

About this Dataset: It provides systematic information on the use and design of fiscal rules covering national and supranational fiscal rules in 96 countries from 1985 to 2015. 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. It also presents details on various characteristics of rules, such as their legal basis, coverage, escape clauses, as well as enforcement procedures, and takes stock of key supporting features that are in place, including independent monitoring bodies and fiscal responsibility laws.

Downloads: Paper | Excel file | Stata file | Background paper

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Rules - Map

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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