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Labour and Product Market Reforms in the Economy with Distortionary Taxation

  • Bokan, Nikola
  • Hughes Hallett, Andrew

It is widely accepted that in order to improve the economic position of the EU relative to the USA certain structural reforms need to be undertaken, mainly in the labour market. However few EU countries have undertaken such reforms. The reason lies in the fact that those reforms are going to be costly in terms of economic performance, unemployment and hence the cost of financing them - at least in the short term. Blanchard and Giavazzi (2003) develop a model based on imperfect competition in both product and labour markets in order to show the impact of deregulation on the economy. However they do not consider the question of how to finance such reforms or overcome the short run costs, a key consideration if the short run costs are large relative to the long run gains. We extend their model by including the effects of another inevitable source of imperfections: distortionary taxation - not only the most likely candidate for reform, but also the most likely instrument for financing the restructuring process. By extending the model in this way we can establish formally that reforms imply significant short run costs as well as long run gains; that (political opposition apart) the financing of such reforms will be the main stumbling block. We come to a number of conclusions which reverse the Blanchard and Giavazzi results; and find that, in addition, the composition of the reform package matters, as does the distribution of the tax burden. This model therefore supplies new results on the design and sequencing of reforms.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5431.

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Date of creation: Jan 2006
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5431
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  1. Olivier Blanchard & Francesco Giavazzi, 2003. "Macroeconomic Effects Of Regulation And Deregulation In Goods And Labor Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(3), pages 879-907, August.
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  5. Anne C. Sibert & Alan Sutherland, . "Monetary Regimes and Labour Market Reform," Discussion Papers 97/14, Department of Economics, University of York.
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  7. Bruno, Michael, 1986. "Aggregate Supply and Demand Factors in OECD Unemployment: An Update," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 53(210(S)), pages S35-52, Supplemen.
  8. Calmfors, Lars, 1998. "Macroeconomic Policy, Wage Setting, and Employment--What Difference Does the EMU Make?," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(3), pages 125-51, Autumn.
  9. Sapir, Andre & Aghion, Philippe & Bertola, Giuseppe & Hellwig, Martin & Pisani-Ferry, Jean & Rosati, Dariusz & Vinals, Jose & Wallace, Helen, 2004. "An Agenda for a Growing Europe: The Sapir Report," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199271498.
  10. Hallett, Andrew Hughes & Jensen, Svend E. Hougaard & Richter, Christian, 2005. "The European economy at the cross roads: Structural reforms, fiscal constraints, and the Lisbon Agenda," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 229-250, June.
  11. Hughes Hallett, Andrew & Viegi, Nicola, 2001. "Labour Market Reform and Monetary Policy in EMU: Do Asymmetries Matter?," CEPR Discussion Papers 2979, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Torben M. Andersen & Niels Haldrup & Jan Rose Sørensen, 2000. "Labour market implications of EU product market integration," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 15(30), pages 105-134, 04.
  13. Dobbelaere, Sabien, 2004. "Estimation of price-cost margins and union bargaining power for Belgian manufacturing," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 22(10), pages 1381-1398, December.
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