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Automatic Fiscal Stabilisers in EMU: A Conflict between Efficiency and Stabilisation?

Author

Listed:
  • Marco Buti
  • Carlos Martinez-Mongay
  • Khalid Sekkat
  • Paul van den Noord

Abstract

It is often claimed that tax and welfare reforms that aim at enhancing efficiency may come at the cost of cyclical stabilisation. Reducing the generosity of welfare systems and lowering taxes may boost efficiency and output, and improve market adjustment to shocks. But, by reducing the size of automatic stabilisers, it may also imply less cyclical smoothing. This would be unwelcome in EMU given the loss of national monetary autonomy and the well-known pitfalls of active fiscal management. This paper argues that the alleged trade-off between efficiency/flexibility and stabilisation may not exist. We show that, if the initial level of the tax burden is high, reducing it may lead to higher output stabilisation in the event of a supply shock and higher inflation stabilisation in the event of a demand shock. Simulations show that European countries - especially small ones - might have a tax burden close to or even higher than the threshold level. (JEL E52, E61, F42)

Suggested Citation

  • Marco Buti & Carlos Martinez-Mongay & Khalid Sekkat & Paul van den Noord, 2003. "Automatic Fiscal Stabilisers in EMU: A Conflict between Efficiency and Stabilisation?," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 49(1), pages 123-140.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:cesifo:v:49:y:2003:i:1:p:123-140.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/cesifo/49.1.123
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Paul van den Noord & Chistopher Heady, 2001. "Surveillance of Tax Policies: A Synthesis of Findings in Economic Surveys," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 303, OECD Publishing.
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    7. Alan J. Auerbach & Daniel R. Feenberg, 2000. "The Significance of Federal Taxes as Automatic Stabilizers," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 37-56, Summer.
    8. Marco Buti & André Sapir, 2002. "EMU in the Early Years: Differences and Credibility," Chapters,in: EMU and Economic Policy in Europe, chapter 1 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    9. Peter Hoeller & Claude Giorno & Christine de la Maisonneuve, 2002. "Overheating in Small Euro Area Economies: Should Fiscal Policy React?," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 323, OECD Publishing.
    10. Hairault, Jean-Olivier & Langot, Francois & Portier, Franck, 2001. "Efficiency and stabilization: reducing Harberger triangles and Okun gaps," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 209-214, February.
    11. von Hagen, Jürgen & Brückner, Matthias, 2001. "Monetary policy in unknown territory: The European Central Bank in the early years," ZEI Working Papers B 18-2001, University of Bonn, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies.
    12. Marco Buti & Carlos Martinez-Mongay & Khalid Sekkat & Paul van den Noord, 2002. "Automatic Stabilisers and Market Flexibility in EMU: Is There A Trade-Off?," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 335, OECD Publishing.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Xavier Debrun & Jean Pisani-Ferry & André Sapir, 2008. "Government size and output volatility: should we forsake automatic stabilisation?," Working Papers 47, Bruegel.
    2. Alessandro Girardi & Paolo Paesani, 2008. "Structural Reforms and Fiscal Discipline in Europe," Transition Studies Review, Springer;Central Eastern European University Network (CEEUN), vol. 15(2), pages 389-402, September.
    3. Torben Andersen, 2005. "Is there a Role for an Active Fiscal Stabilization Policy?," CESifo Working Paper Series 1447, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Marco Buti & Werner Rüger & Alessandro Turrini, 2009. "Is Lisbon Far from Maastricht? Trade-offs and Complementarities between Fiscal Discipline and Structural Reforms," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 55(1), pages 165-196, March.
    5. Szapáry, György & Orbán, Gábor, 2004. "A stabilitási és növekedési paktum az új tagállamok szemszögéből
      [The Stabilization and Growth Pact in the light of the new EU member-states]
      ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(9), pages 810-831.
    6. Nilsson, Kristian, 2008. "Conceptual Framework for Fiscal Policy," Occasional Papers 16, National Institute of Economic Research.
    7. Charl Jooste & Marina Marinkov, 2012. "South Africa'S Transition To A Consolidated Budget," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 80(2), pages 181-199, June.
    8. Orban, Gabor & Szapary, Gyorgy, 2004. "The Stability and Growth Pact from the perspective of the new member states," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 26(7), pages 839-864, October.
    9. European Commission, 2010. "Tax Policy after the Crisis: Monitoring Tax Revenues and Tax Reforms in EU Member States 2010 Report," Taxation Papers 24, Directorate General Taxation and Customs Union, European Commission.
    10. M S Mohanty & Fabrizio Zampolli, 2009. "Government size and macroeconomic stability," BIS Quarterly Review, Bank for International Settlements, December.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E61 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination
    • F42 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - International Policy Coordination and Transmission

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