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Fiscal Union in Europe? Redistributive and Stabilising Effects of an EU Tax-Benefit System

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  • Bargain, Olivier
  • Dolls, Mathias
  • Fuest, Clemens
  • Neumann, Dirk
  • Peichl, Andreas
  • Pestel, Nico
  • Siegloch, Sebastian

Abstract

The current debt crisis has given rise to a debate about deeper fiscal integration in Europe. The view is widespread that moving towards a fiscal union would have a stabilising effect in the event of macroeconomic shocks. In this paper we study the economic effects of introducing two elements of a fiscal union: Firstly, an EU-wide tax and transfer system and secondly, an EU-wide system of fiscal equalisation. Using the European tax-benefit calculator EUROMOD, we exploit representative household microdata from 11 Eurozone countries to simulate these policy reforms and to study their effects on the distribution of income as well as their impact on automatic fiscal stabilisers. We find that replacing one third of the national tax and transfer systems by a European system would lead to significant redistributive effects both within and across countries. These effects depend on income levels and the structures of the existing national tax and transfer systems.The EU system would improve fiscal stabilisation especially in credit constrained countries. It would absorb between 10 and 15 per cent of a macroeconomic income shock. Introducing a fiscal equalisation system based on taxing capacity would redistribute revenues from high to low income countries. The stabilisation properties of this system, however, are ambiguous. This suggests that not all forms of fiscal integration will improve macroeconomic stability in the Eurozone.

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Paper provided by EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research in its series EUROMOD Working Papers with number EM6/12.

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Date of creation: 01 Jul 2012
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Publication status: published
Handle: RePEc:ese:emodwp:em6-12

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  1. Fuest, Clemens & Peichl, Andreas, 2012. "European Fiscal Union: What Is It? Does It Work? And Are There Really 'No Alternatives'?," IZA Policy Papers 39, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Mathias Dolls & Clemens Fuest & Andreas Peichl, 2010. "Automatic Stabilizers and Economic Crisis: US vs. Europe," Cologne Graduate School Working Paper Series 01-02, Cologne Graduate School in Management, Economics and Social Sciences.
  3. Michael D. Bordo & Agnieszka Markiewicz & Lars Jonung, 2011. "A Fiscal Union for the Euro: Some Lessons from History," NBER Working Papers 17380, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Hammond, George & von Hagen, Jürgen, 1995. "Regional Insurance Against Asymmetric Shocks. An Empirical Study for the European Community," CEPR Discussion Papers 1170, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Dixit, Avinash & Lambertini, Luisa, 2003. "Symbiosis of monetary and fiscal policies in a monetary union," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 235-247, August.
  6. Eichengreen, Barry, 1990. "One Money for Europe? Lessons from the US Currency Union," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt6ks1k831, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  7. Kai A. Konrad & Holger Zschäpitz, 2011. "The Future of the Eurozone," CESifo Forum, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 12(2), pages 46-49, 07.
  8. Christian Keuschnigg, 2012. "Should Europe Become a Fiscal Union?," CESifo Forum, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 13(1), pages 35-43, 04.
  9. Bargain, Olivier & Orsini, Kristian & Peichl, Andreas, 2011. "Labor Supply Elasticities in Europe and the US," EUROMOD Working Papers EM1/11, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  10. repec:imf:imfpdp:9607 is not listed on IDEAS
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Cited by:
  1. Sutherland, Holly & Figari, Francesco, 2013. "EUROMOD: The European Union Tax-Benefit Microsimulation Model," EUROMOD Working Papers EM8/13, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.

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