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Strategic fiscal policies in Europe: Why does the labour wedge matter?

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  • Langot, François
  • Lemoine, Matthieu

Abstract

Most European countries suffer from a structural weakness in employment and competitiveness. Can an optimal tax system reinforce European countries in this respect? In this paper, we show that fiscal competition can be a welfare improving second best solution if the labour wedge is sufficiently large. Indeed, a sufficiently large labour wedge calls for an expansion of the production set in both countries, thus increasing global opportunities. For a small labour wedge, this would not be the case, because the terms-of-trade externality would call for a fiscal policy that exacerbates a non-cooperative behaviour between countries. In a two-country world, we show that the symmetric Nash equilibrium can be Pareto-efficient, if employment subsidies are financed by a consumption tax. This is not the case when the former are financed by tariffs.

Suggested Citation

  • Langot, François & Lemoine, Matthieu, 2017. "Strategic fiscal policies in Europe: Why does the labour wedge matter?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 15-29.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:91:y:2017:i:c:p:15-29
    DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2016.09.005
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Zouhair Aït Benhamou, 2018. "A Steeper slope: the Laffer Tax Curve in Developing and Emerging Economies," EconomiX Working Papers 2018-44, University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Optimal taxation; International trade; Labour wedge; General equilibrium model;

    JEL classification:

    • D51 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Exchange and Production Economies
    • F42 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - International Policy Coordination and Transmission
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation

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