Fiscal harmonization in the presence of public inputs
Fiscal harmonization for the European Union member states is a goal that encounters major difficulties for its implementation. Each country faces a particular trade-off between fiscal revenues generated by taxation and the productive efficiency loss induced by their respective tax code. Countries for which a particular harmonized tax code requires more taxation will have to face an increased efficiency loss, whereas those required to decrease their taxes will have to face a loss in fiscal revenue. This paper provides a quantitative measure of these trade-offs, for a number of taxes and for the European Union member states, using a DGE model with public inputs. Calibration of the model for the EU-15 member states gives us the following results: i) The maximum tax revenue level is not far away from the current tax levels for most countries, ii) The cases of Sweden, Denmark and Finland are anomalous, as productive efficiency can be gained by lowering tax rates without affecting fiscal revenues, iii) In general, countries would obtain efficiency gains without changing fiscal revenues by reducing the capital tax and increasing the labor tax and iv) Capital tax harmonization to the average capital tax rate can be done with quite small changes in both fiscal revenues and output for the majority of countries.
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