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Fiscal union in Europe? Redistributive and stabilising effects of an EU tax-benefit system

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  • Bargain, Olivier
  • Dolls, Mathias
  • Fuest, Clemens
  • Neumann, Dirk
  • Peichl, Andreas
  • Pestel, Nico
  • Siegloch, Sebastian

Abstract

The current debt crisis has given rise to a debate about deeper fiscal integration in Europe. The view is widespread that moving towards a ‘fiscal union’ would have a stabilising effect in the event of macroeconomic shocks. In this paper we study the economic effects of introducing two elements of a fiscal union: Firstly, an EU-wide tax and transfer system and secondly, an EU-wide system of fiscal equalisation. Using the European tax-benefit calculator EUROMOD, we exploit representative household microdata from 11 Eurozone countries to simulate these policy reforms and to study their effects on the distribution of income as well as their impact on automatic fiscal stabilisers. We find that replacing one third of the national tax and transfer systems by a European system would lead to significant redistributive effects both within and across countries. These effects depend on income levels and the structures of the existing national tax and transfer systems.The EU system would improve fiscal stabilisation especially in credit constrained countries. It would absorb between 10 and 15 per cent of a macroeconomic income shock. Introducing a fiscal equalisation system based on taxing capacity would redistribute revenues from high to low income countries. The stabilisation properties of this system, however, are ambiguous. This suggests that not all forms of fiscal integration will improve macroeconomic stability in the Eurozone.

Suggested Citation

  • Bargain, Olivier & Dolls, Mathias & Fuest, Clemens & Neumann, Dirk & Peichl, Andreas & Pestel, Nico & Siegloch, Sebastian, 2012. "Fiscal union in Europe? Redistributive and stabilising effects of an EU tax-benefit system," EUROMOD Working Papers EM6/12, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:ese:emodwp:em6-12
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    Cited by:

    1. Mathias Dolls & Clemens Fuest & Dirk Neumann & Andreas Peichl, 2018. "An unemployment insurance scheme for the euro area? A comparison of different alternatives using microdata," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 25(1), pages 273-309, February.
    2. Iulia Andreea Bucur & Mircea Muntean, 2014. "An Overview Of Fiscal Consolidation Process In The European Union," Studies and Scientific Researches. Economics Edition, "Vasile Alecsandri" University of Bacau, Faculty of Economic Sciences, issue 20.
    3. Holly Sutherland & Francesco Figari, 2013. "EUROMOD: the European Union tax-benefit microsimulation model," International Journal of Microsimulation, International Microsimulation Association, vol. 1(6), pages 4-26.
    4. Moyen, Stéphane & Stähler, Nikolai & Winkler, Fabian, 2019. "Optimal unemployment insurance and international risk sharing," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 144-171.
    5. Heikki Oksanen, 2016. "Smoothing Asymmetric Shocks vs. Redistribution in the Euro Area: a Simple Proposal for Dealing with Mistrust," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 62(2), pages 332-375.
    6. Heikki Oksanen, 2016. "Smoothing Asymmetric Shocks vs. Redistribution in the Euro Area: A Simple Proposal for Dealing with Mistrust in the Euro Area," CESifo Working Paper Series 5817, CESifo.
    7. Dolls, Mathias & Fuest, Clemens & Heinemann, Friedrich & Peichl, Andreas, 2015. "Reconciling insurance with market discipline: A blueprint for a European fiscal union," ZEW Discussion Papers 15-044, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H3 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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