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"Fiscal Devaluation" and Fiscal Consolidation: The VAT in Troubled Times

In: Fiscal Policy after the Financial Crisis

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  • Ruud de Mooij
  • Michael Keen

Abstract

This paper focuses on two core tax design issues that arise in addressing current fiscal challenges It first explores the idea, prominent in troubled Eurozone countries, of a ‘fiscal devaluation:’ shifting from social contributions to the VAT as a way to mimic a nominal devaluation. Empirical evidence is presented which suggests that in Eurozone countries this may indeed improve the trade balance quite sizably in the short-run, though, as theory predicts, the effects eventually disappear. The paper then assesses the wider scope for VAT reform in meeting fiscal consolidation needs, developing and beginning to apply a methodology for finding additional VAT revenue in ways less distortionary and fairer than further raising the standard rate.

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This chapter was published in:

  • Alberto Alesina & Francesco Giavazzi, 2013. "Fiscal Policy after the Financial Crisis," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number ales11-1, May.
    This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 12646.

    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:12646

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    1. Alan J. Auerbach, 2006. "The Choice Between Income and Consumption Taxes: A Primer," NBER Working Papers 12307, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Keen, Michael & Lockwood, Ben, 2007. "The Value Added Tax : Its Causes and Consequences," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 801, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    3. Emmanuel Farhi & Gita Gopinath & Oleg Itskhoki, . "Fiscal Devaluations," Working Paper 70976, Harvard University OpenScholar.
    4. Alberto Alesina & Roberto Perotti, 1994. "The Welfare State and Competitiveness," NBER Working Papers 4810, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Alexandre Mathis, 2004. "VAT indicators," Taxation Papers 2, Directorate General Taxation and Customs Union, European Commission, revised Apr 2004.
    6. John Haltiwanger & Ron S. Jarmin & Javier Miranda, 2010. "Who Creates Jobs? Small vs. Large vs. Young," Working Papers 10-17, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    7. Calmfors, Lars, 1998. "Macroeconomic Policy, Wage Setting, and Employment--What Difference Does the EMU Make?," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(3), pages 125-51, Autumn.
    8. Jaewoo Lee & Jonathan David Ostry & Alessandro Prati & Luca Antonio Ricci & Gian-Maria Milesi-Ferretti, 2008. "Exchange Rate Assessments," IMF Occasional Papers 261, International Monetary Fund.
    9. Brett, Craig & Keen, Michael, 2000. "Political uncertainty and the earmarking of environmental taxes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(3), pages 315-340, March.
    10. Matz Dahlberg & Anders Forslund, 2005. "Direct Displacement Effects of Labour Market Programmes," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 107(3), pages 475-494, 09.
    11. Perotti, Roberto & Alesina, Alberto, 1997. "The Welfare State and Competitiveness," Scholarly Articles 4553027, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    12. Jens Arnold, 2008. "Do Tax Structures Affect Aggregate Economic Growth?: Empirical Evidence from a Panel of OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 643, OECD Publishing.
    13. Chinn, Menzie D. & Prasad, Eswar S., 2003. "Medium-term determinants of current accounts in industrial and developing countries: an empirical exploration," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 47-76, January.
    14. Keen, Michael & Lockwood, Ben, 2006. "Is the VAT a Money Machine?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 59(4), pages 905-28, December.
    15. Calmfors, Lars, 1998. "Macroeconomic Policy, Wage Setting and Employment - What Difference Does the EMU Make?," Seminar Papers 657, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
    16. Stephen C. Smith & Michael Keen, 2007. "VAT Fraud and Evasion," IMF Working Papers 07/31, International Monetary Fund.
    17. Lane, Philip R. & Perotti, Roberto, 1998. "The trade balance and fiscal policy in the OECD," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 887-895, May.
    18. Kent Matthews, 2003. "VAT Evasion and VAT Avoidance: Is there a European Laffer curve for VAT?," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(1), pages 105-114.
    19. Calmfors, L., 1998. "Macroeconomic Policy, Wage Setting and Employment -What Differences Does the EMU Make?," Papers 657, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
    20. Stephan Danninger & Alina Carare, 2008. "Inflation Smoothing and the Modest Effect of VAT in Germany," IMF Working Papers 08/175, International Monetary Fund.
    21. Diamond, Peter A & Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "Optimal Taxation and Public Production: I--Production Efficiency," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(1), pages 8-27, March.
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    Cited by:
    1. Pestel, Nico & Sommer, Eric, 2013. "Shifting Taxes from Labor to Consumption: Efficient, but Regressive?," IZA Discussion Papers 7804, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Barbara Annicchiarico & Fabio Di Dio & Francesco Felici, 2014. "Fiscal Devaluation Scenarios: A Quantitative Assessment for the Italian Economy," CEIS Research Paper 311, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 09 Apr 2014.
    3. Lukas Vogel & Werner Roeger & Bernhard Herz, 2012. "The performance of simple fiscal policy rules in monetary union," European Economy - Economic Papers 470, Directorate General Economic and Monetary Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    4. Anna Lipinska & Leopold von Thadden, 2012. "On the (in)effectiveness of fiscal devaluations in a monetary union," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2012-71, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    5. Laura Jaramillo & Carlo Cottarelli, 2012. "Walking Hand in Hand," IMF Working Papers 12/137, International Monetary Fund.
    6. A team of the Working Group on Econometric Modelling of the European System of Central Banks, 2012. "Competitiveness and external imbalances within the euro area," Occasional Paper Series 139, European Central Bank.
    7. Bergljot Barkbu & Jesmin Rahman & Rodrigo O. Valdés, 2012. "Fostering Growth in Europe Now," IMF Staff Discussion Notes 12/07, International Monetary Fund.

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