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One Welfare State for Europe: A Costly Utopia?

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  • Hennessy Peter

    ()
    (Federal Reserve Bank of New York)

  • Warin Thierry

    ()
    (Assistant Professor of Economics, Fellow-in-Residence at the Rohatyn Center for International Affairs, Middlebury College)

Abstract

This paper addresses the question of the social policy harmonization in the European Union. In adopting a common monetary policy, Europe is faced with structural and fiscal concerns, as national growth levels differ. Another possible factor in output shocks are the levels of various social expenditures in the member countries. OECD data on the level of social program expenditures in four EU countries will be compared to fluctuations in GDP growth to identify existing relationships. Significant relationships between independent social expenditure policy and GDP growth shocks suggest structural harmonization as an improvement if Europe is to take full advantage of the common market. However, the effects of expenditure levels may be easier to identify and predict than the dynamic effects of policy change. As the effects of future policy changes are more difficult to ascertain, harmonization may not consistently appear to be a Pareto-optimum solution to asymmetric shocks.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal Global Economy Journal.

Volume (Year): 4 (2004)
Issue (Month): 2 (December)
Pages: 1-17

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Handle: RePEc:bpj:glecon:v:4:y:2004:i:2:n:7

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  1. Daniel T. Slesnick, 1998. "Empirical Approaches to the Measurement of Welfare," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(4), pages 2108-2165, December.
  2. Bertil Holmlund & Ann-Sofie Kolm, 2000. "International Spillover Effects of Sectoral Tax Differentiation in Unionized Economies," CESifo Working Paper Series 295, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Alesina, Alberto & Perotti, Roberto, 1997. "The Welfare State and Competitiveness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 921-39, December.
  4. Theo Hitiris & John Nixon, 2001. "Convergence of health care expenditure in the EU countries," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(4), pages 223-228.
  5. Perotti, Roberto & Alesina, Alberto, 1997. "The Welfare State and Competitiveness," Scholarly Articles 4553027, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  6. Theo Hitiris, 1997. "Health care expenditure and integration in the countries of the European Union," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(1), pages 1-6.
  7. Perotti, Roberto, 1996. "Fiscal Consolidation in Europe: Composition Matters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 105-10, May.
  8. Breitung, Jorg, 2002. "Nonparametric tests for unit roots and cointegration," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 108(2), pages 343-363, June.
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