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Scotland: A New Fiscal Settlement

  • Hughes Hallett, Andrew
  • Scott, Drew

Executive Summary Many commentators have criticised the strategy currently used to finance the Scottish Parliament – both the block grant system, and the small degree of fiscal autonomy devised in the Calman report and the UK government’s 2009 White Paper. Nevertheless, fiscal autonomy has now been conceded in principle. This paper sets out to identify formally what level of autonomy would be best for the Scottish economy and the institutional changes needed to support that arrangement. Our conclusions are in line with the Steel Commission: that significantly more fiscal powers need to be transferred to Scotland. But what we can then do, which the Steel Commission could not, is to give a detailed blueprint for how this proposal might be implemented in practice. We face two problems. The existing block grant system can and has been criticised from such a wide variety of points of view that it effectively has no credibility left. On the other hand, the Calman proposals (and the UK government proposals that followed) are unworkable because, to function, they require information that the policy makers cannot possibly have; and because, without borrowing for current activities, they contain no mechanism to reconcile contractual spending (most of the budget) with variable revenue flows – which is to invite an eventual breakdown. But in its attempt to fix these problems, the UK White Paper introduces three further difficulties: new grounds for quarrels between the UK and Scottish governments, a long term deflation bias, and a loss of devolution.

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Paper provided by Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE) in its series SIRE Discussion Papers with number 2010-23.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:edn:sirdps:155
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  1. Andrew Hughes Hallett & John Lewis, 2005. "Fiscal Discipline before and after EMU - Permanent Weight Loss or Crash Diet?," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0516, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  2. Rodden, Jonathan, 2003. "Reviving Leviathan: Fiscal Federalism and the Growth of Government," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 57(04), pages 695-729, September.
  3. Aizenman, Joshua & Kletzer, Kenneth, 2007. "Economic Growth with Constraints on Tax Revenues and Public Debt: Implications for Fiscal Policy and Cross-Country Differences," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt9421k9hq, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  4. Xavier Debrun & Manmohan S. Kumar, 2007. "The Discipline-Enhancing Role of Fiscal Institutions; Theory and Empirical Evidence," IMF Working Papers 07/171, International Monetary Fund.
  5. Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan & Bent E. Sorensen & Oved Yosha, 2000. "Risk sharing and industrial specialization ; regional and international evidence," Research Working Paper RWP 00-06, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  6. Floriana Cerniglia & Riccarda Longaretti, 2013. "Federalism, education-related public good and growth when agents are heterogeneous," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 109(3), pages 271-301, July.
  7. Reinhart, Carmen M. & Rogoff, Kenneth, 2010. "Growth in a Time of Debt," CEPR Discussion Papers 7661, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. David Alan Aschauer, 2000. "Do states optimize? Public capital and economic growth," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer, vol. 34(3), pages 343-363.
  9. Wilson, John Douglas, 1992. "Optimal Income Taxation and International Personal Mobility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 191-96, May.
  10. Eric M. Leeper, 2009. "Anchoring Fiscal Expectations," Caepr Working Papers 2009-015, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
  11. Asdrubali, Pierfederico & Sorensen, Bent E & Yosha, Oved, 1996. "Channels of Interstate Risk Sharing: United States 1963-1990," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(4), pages 1081-1110, November.
  12. Ulrich Thießen, 2003. "Fiscal Decentralisation and Economic Growth in High-Income OECD Countries," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 24(3), pages 237-274, September.
  13. Wilson, John Douglas, 1999. "Theories of Tax Competition," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 2), pages 269-304, June.
  14. Peter Egger & Doina Maria Radulescu, 2009. "The Influence of Labour Taxes on the Migration of Skilled Workers," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(9), pages 1365-1379, 09.
  15. Julia Darby & V. Anton Muscatelli & Graeme Roy, . "How do Sub-Central Government react to cuts in grants received from Central Governments Evidence from a Panel of 15 OECD Countries," Working Papers 2005_18, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow, revised Jun 2005.
  16. Barry Eichengreen & Ricardo Hausmann & Jürgen Von Hagen, 1999. "Reforming Budgetary Institutions in Latin America: The Case for a National Fiscal Council," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 415-442, October.
  17. Xavier Debrun & David Hauner & Manmohan S. Kumar, 2009. "Independent Fiscal Agencies," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 23(1), pages 44-81, 02.
  18. Andrew Hughes Hallet & Rasmus Kattai & John Lewis, 2007. "Early Warning or Just Wise After the Event?," DNB Working Papers 124, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  19. Thornton, John, 2007. "Fiscal decentralization and economic growth reconsidered," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 64-70, January.
  20. Andrew Hughes Hallett, 2008. "Debt targets and fiscal sustainability in an era of monetary independence," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 165-187, July.
  21. David E. Wildasin, 2005. "Fiscal Competition," Working Papers 2005-05, University of Kentucky, Institute for Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations.
  22. Melitz, Jacques, 2004. "Risk Sharing and EMU," CEPR Discussion Papers 4460, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  23. C. Paul Hallwood & Ronald MacDonald, 2009. "The Political Economy of Financing Scottish Government," Books, Edward Elgar, number 13231, 6.
  24. Mirrlees, J. A., 1982. "Migration and optimal income taxes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 319-341, August.
  25. Andrew Hughes Hallett, 2008. "Coordination without Explicit Cooperation: Monetary-Fiscal Interactions in an Era of Demographic Change," European Economy - Economic Papers 305, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
  26. Oates, Wallace E, 1985. "Searching for Leviathan: An Empirical Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 748-57, September.
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