In 2009, a new “debt brake” has been introduced into the German constitution. According to this fiscal rule, the federal government has to limit its annual net borrowing from the year 2016 on to a maximum of 0.35 percent of GDP; the German Laender must not take out new loans from the year 2020. Based on findings of the economic theory of fiscal federalism, this paper argues that the new debt brake - within the existing institutional framework - seems not to be an effective instrument to ban the risk of a bailout. For example, the Laender which de jure face the toughest budget constraint have no sufficient tax autonomy in order to react to a looming budget deficit through tax increases.
© 2009 by Lucius & Lucius, Stuttgart