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Labour Market Adjustment, Social Spending and the Automatic Stabilizers in the OECD

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  • Darby, Julia
  • Melitz, Jacques

Abstract

The macroeconomic literature on automatic stabilization tends to focus on taxes and dismiss the relevance of government expenditure, aside from unemployment compensation. Our results go sharply contrary to this view. We engage in an empirical analysis of 20 OECD countries from 1980-2001 and find that age- and health-related social expenditure as well as incapacity benefits all react to the cycle in a stabilizing manner. While possibly new in the macro literature, this conforms to many results in studies of labour and health. Moreover, when the focus is on the ratio of the net surplus to output, automatic stabilization comes essentially from the spending side. Taxes contribute nothing at all.

Suggested Citation

  • Darby, Julia & Melitz, Jacques, 2007. "Labour Market Adjustment, Social Spending and the Automatic Stabilizers in the OECD," CEPR Discussion Papers 6230, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6230
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Luca Agnello & Ricardo M. Sousa, 2009. "The Determinants of Public Deficit Volatility," NIPE Working Papers 11/2009, NIPE - Universidade do Minho.
    2. Aghion, Philippe & Hemous, David & Kharroubi, Enisse, 2009. "Credit Constraints, Cyclical Fiscal Policy and Industry Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 7359, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Aghion, Philippe & Hémous, David & Kharroubi, Enisse, 2014. "Cyclical fiscal policy, credit constraints, and industry growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 41-58.
    4. Luigi, Bernardi, 2011. "Economic crisis and taxation in Europe," MPRA Paper 31007, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Ludger Schuknecht & Holger Zemanek, 2018. "Social Dominance," Working Papers REM 2018/30, ISEG - Lisbon School of Economics and Management, REM, Universidade de Lisboa.
    6. Simone Bertoli & Francesco Farina, 2007. "The functional distribution of income: a review of the theoretical literature and of the empirical evidence around its recent pattern in European countries," Department of Economic Policy, Finance and Development (DEPFID) University of Siena 005, Department of Economic Policy, Finance and Development (DEPFID), University of Siena.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    automatic stabilization; cyclically adjusted budget balances; discretionary fiscal policy;

    JEL classification:

    • E0 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General
    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook

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