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The Stability and Growth Pact and the process of fiscal consolidation in several European countries have enhanced the role of fiscal rules at sub-national level. This paper analyzes the combined effect of a rule to allocate capital and current block grants to local governments and the "Golden rule" of public finance (surplus of current balance). The authors argue that the two fiscal rules introduce significant rigidities and distortions in local governments' expenditures structure since these mimic the structure of revenues. This effect is particularly relevant in municipalities that are more dependent of intergovernmental grants, mainly rural.
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