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Smoothing shocks and balancing budgets in a currency union

Author

Listed:
  • James Costain

    () (Banco de España)

  • Beatriz de Blas

    (Universidad autónoma de Madrid)

Abstract

We study simple fiscal rules for stabilizing the government debt level in response to asymmetric demand shocks in a country that belongs to a currency union. We compare debt stabilization through tax rate adjustments with debt stabilization through expenditure changes. While rapid and flexible adjustment of public expenditure might seem institutionally or informationally infeasible, we discuss one concrete way in which this might be implemented: setting salaries of public employees, and social transfers, in an alternative unit of account, and delegating the valuation of this numeraire to an independent fiscal authority. Using a sticky-price DSGE matching model of a small open economy in a currency union, we compare the business cycle implications of several different fiscal rules that all achieve the same reduction in the standard deviation of the public debt. In our simulations, compared with rules that adjust tax rates, a rule that stabilizes the budget by adjusting public salaries and transfers reduces fluctuations in consumption, employment, and private and public after-tax real wages, thus bringing the market economy closer to the social planner’s solution.

Suggested Citation

  • James Costain & Beatriz de Blas, 2012. "Smoothing shocks and balancing budgets in a currency union," Working Papers 1207, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
  • Handle: RePEc:bde:wpaper:1207
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    File URL: http://www.bde.es/f/webbde/SES/Secciones/Publicaciones/PublicacionesSeriadas/DocumentosTrabajo/12/Fich/dt1207e.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Giancarlo Corsetti & André Meier & Gernot J. Müller, 2012. "Fiscal Stimulus with Spending Reversals," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(4), pages 878-895, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jacquinot, Pascal & Lozej, Matija & Pisani, Massimiliano, 2018. "Labour tax reforms, cross-country coordination and the monetary policy stance in the euro area: a structural model-based approach," Working Paper Series 2127, European Central Bank.
    2. Costain, James & de Blas, Beatriz, 2012. "The role of fiscal delegation in a monetary union: a survey of the political economy issues," Working Papers in Economic Theory 2012/11, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain), Department of Economic Analysis (Economic Theory and Economic History).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fiscal authority; public wages; sovereign debt; monetary union;

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics

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