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A fiscal capacity for the euro area: lessons from existing fiscal-federal systems


  • Burriel, Pablo
  • Chronis, Panagiotis
  • Freier, Maximilian
  • Hauptmeier, Sebastian
  • Reiss, Lukas
  • Stegarescu, Dan
  • Van Parys, Stefan


After the financial and economic crisis in Europe, a broad consensus has emerged that a stronger fiscal dimension may be needed to complete the architecture of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). This paper analyses the performance of interregional transfers in existing fiscal-federal systems, notably in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Spain and the United States, and aims to draw lessons for the design of a euro area fiscal instrument. The empirical risk-sharing analysis in this paper suggests that effective cross-regional stabilisation of asymmetric shocks tends to work via direct cash transfers to households, such as unemployment benefits, which are financed out of cyclical central government taxes and social security contributions. This would suggest that a euro area budgetary instrument for stabilisation should be designed as a tool that enhances the automatic stabilisation capacity in the single currency area. At the same time, it seems important that a prospective central stabilisation instrument for the euro area would be integrated in an overall fiscal policy framework that ensures proper incentives for national policymakers. JEL Classification: E62, H11, H77

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  • Burriel, Pablo & Chronis, Panagiotis & Freier, Maximilian & Hauptmeier, Sebastian & Reiss, Lukas & Stegarescu, Dan & Van Parys, Stefan, 2020. "A fiscal capacity for the euro area: lessons from existing fiscal-federal systems," Occasional Paper Series 239, European Central Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbops:2020239
    Note: 538998

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    Cited by:

    1. Amélie BARBIER-GAUCHARD, 2020. "Blueprint for the European Fiscal Union: State of knowledge and Challenges," Working Papers of BETA 2020-39, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
    2. Mario Alloza & Javier Andrés & Pablo Burriel & Iván Kataryniuk & Javier J. Pérez & Juan Luis Vega, 2021. "La reforma del marco de gobernanza de la política fiscal de la Unión Europea en un nuevo entorno macroeconómico," Occasional Papers 2121, Banco de España.
    3. Beetsma, Roel & Burgoon, Brian & Nicoli, Francesco, 2023. "Is european attachment sufficiently strong to support an EU fiscal capacity: Evidence from a conjoint experiment," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 78(C).
    4. Mario Alloza & Javier Andrés & Pablo Burriel & Iván Kataryniuk & Javier J. Pérez & Juan Luis Vega, 2021. "The reform of the european Union’s fiscal governance Framework in a new Macroeconomic environment," Occasional Papers 2121, Banco de España.
    5. Debrun, Xavier & Masuch, Klaus & Ferrero, Guiseppe & Vansteenkiste, Isabel & Ferdinandusse, Marien & von Thadden, Leopold & Hauptmeier, Sebastian & Alloza, Mario & Derouen, Chloé & Bańkowski, Krzyszto, 2021. "Monetary-fiscal policy interactions in the euro area," Occasional Paper Series 273, European Central Bank.
    6. Kaufmann, Christoph & Attinasi, Maria Grazia & Hauptmeier, Sebastian, 2023. "Macroeconomic stabilisation properties of a euro area unemployment insurance scheme," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 153(C).
    7. Roel Beetsma & Brian Burgoon & Francesco Nicoli & Anniek de Ruijter & Frank Vandenbroucke, 2022. "What kind of EU fiscal capacity? Evidence from a randomized survey experiment in five European countries in times of corona," Economic Policy, CEPR, CESifo, Sciences Po;CES;MSH, vol. 37(111), pages 411-459.
    8. Capella-Ramos, João & Checherita-Westphal, Cristina & Leiner-Killinger, Nadine, 2020. "Fiscal transfers and economic convergence," Occasional Paper Series 252, European Central Bank.
    9. Lukas Reiss, 2022. "Fiscal risk sharing and redistribution between Austrian states," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 49(1), pages 1-20, February.
    10. Cimadomo, Jacopo & Gordo Mora, Esther & Palazzo, Alessandra Anna, 2022. "Enhancing private and public risk sharing: lessons from the literature and reflections on the COVID-19 crisis," Occasional Paper Series 306, European Central Bank.
    11. Lukas Reiss, 2021. "Fiscal Risk Sharing and Redistribution Between Austrian States," WIFO Working Papers 629, WIFO.
    12. Hauptmeier, Sebastian & Holm-Hadulla, Fédéric & Renault, Théodore, 2022. "Risk sharing and monetary policy transmission," Working Paper Series 2746, European Central Bank.
    13. Luca Rossi, 2021. "Revisiting the Case for a Fiscal Union: the Federal Fiscal Channel of Downside-Risk Sharing in the United States," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 1351, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.

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    More about this item


    euro area fiscal capacity; fiscal federalism; fiscal risk-sharing;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy; Modern Monetary Theory
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism

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