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Distributional Consequences of Fiscal Adjustments: What Do the Data Say?

Author

Listed:
  • Jaejoon Woo

    () (Bank of America Merrill Lynch)

  • Elva Bova

    () (European Commission)

  • Tidiane Kinda

    () (Bank of America Merrill Lynch)

  • Y. Sophia Zhang

    () (Bank of America Merrill Lynch)

Abstract

Abstract The 2007–2009 Great Recession has led to an unprecedented increase in public debt in many countries, triggering substantial fiscal adjustments. What are the distributional consequences of fiscal austerity measures? This is an important policy question. This paper analyzes the effects of fiscal adjustments for a panel of 17 OECD countries over the last 30 years, complemented by a case study of selected fiscal adjustment episodes. The paper shows that fiscal adjustments are likely to raise inequality through various channels including their effects on unemployment. Spending-based adjustments tend to worsen inequality more significantly, relative to tax-based adjustments. The composition of austerity measures also matters: progressive taxation and targeted social benefits and subsidies introduced in the context of a broader decline in spending can help offset some of the adverse distributional impact of fiscal adjustments.

Suggested Citation

  • Jaejoon Woo & Elva Bova & Tidiane Kinda & Y. Sophia Zhang, 2017. "Distributional Consequences of Fiscal Adjustments: What Do the Data Say?," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 65(2), pages 273-307, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:imfecr:v:65:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1057_s41308-016-0021-1
    DOI: 10.1057/s41308-016-0021-1
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. van der Wielen, Wouter, 2019. "The Macroeconomic Effects of Tax Reform: Evidence from the EU," JRC Working Papers on Taxation & Structural Reforms 2019-04, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    2. repec:eee:poleco:v:57:y:2019:i:c:p:107-124 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Philipp Heimberger, 2018. "The dynamic effects of fiscal consolidation episodes on income inequality: Evidence for 17 OECD Countries over 1978-2013," ICAE Working Papers 79, Johannes Kepler University, Institute for Comprehensive Analysis of the Economy.
    4. Ciminelli, Gabriele & Ernst, Ekkehard & Merola, Rossana & Giuliodori, Massimo, 2019. "The composition effects of tax-based consolidation on income inequality," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 107-124.
    5. Philipp Heimberger, 2018. "The Dynamic Effects of Fiscal Consolidation Episodes on Income Inequality," wiiw Working Papers 147, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    D3; D63; I38;

    JEL classification:

    • D3 - Microeconomics - - Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs

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