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Progressive Taxation, Macroeconomic Stabilization and efficiency in Europe

Author

Listed:
  • Carlos Martinez-Mongay
  • Khalid Sekkat

Abstract

The paper contributes to the debate on the stability/efficiency tradeoff of automatic stabilizers. A simple AD-AS two-country model is presented and illustrates circumstances where a reduction in taxes can foster stabilization. The testable implication from the model is that tax cuts can either increase or decrease volatility depending on the structure of the taxation system. Hence, lowering taxes for efficiency purposes may have not cost in terms of stabilization. This implication is tested for OECD countries over the period 1960-2000 taking account of the endogeneity and omitted variables issues identified in the literature. We found acceptably robust evidence that the size of governments in OECD countries has played a stabilizing role for both output and inflation. However, the relationship between government size and macroeconomic stability is not linear. The composition of public finances, in particular the tax mix, matters for output and price volatility. Distorting taxes, namely taxes on labor, might have negative effects on macroeconomic stability. Consequently, the potential trade off between stability and flexibility might not exist.

Suggested Citation

  • Carlos Martinez-Mongay & Khalid Sekkat, 2005. "Progressive Taxation, Macroeconomic Stabilization and efficiency in Europe," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 233, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
  • Handle: RePEc:euf:ecopap:0233
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    File URL: http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/publications/pages/publication596_en.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Khalid Sekkat & Marco Buti & Carlos Martinez-Mongay & Paul van den Noord, 2003. "Macroeconomic policy and structural reform: a conflict between stabilisation and flexibility?," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/7388, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    2. Dani Rodrik, 1998. "Why Do More Open Economies Have Bigger Governments?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(5), pages 997-1032, October.
    3. Fatas, Antonio & Mihov, Ilian, 2001. "Government size and automatic stabilizers: international and intranational evidence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, pages 3-28.
    4. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1999. "The size and scope of government:: Comparative politics with rational politicians," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 699-735, April.
    5. Sapir, Andre & Sekkat, Khalid, 2002. "Political Cycles, Fiscal Deficits, and Output Spillovers in Europe," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 111(1-2), pages 195-205, March.
    6. Li Wenli & Pierre -Daniel Sarte, 2004. "Progressive Taxation and Long-Run Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1705-1716, December.
    7. Kneller, Richard & Bleaney, Michael F. & Gemmell, Norman, 1999. "Fiscal policy and growth: evidence from OECD countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 171-190, November.
    8. Marco Buti & André Sapir, 2002. "EMU in the Early Years: Differences and Credibility," Chapters,in: EMU and Economic Policy in Europe, chapter 1 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    9. Hairault, Jean-Olivier & Langot, Francois & Portier, Franck, 2001. "Efficiency and stabilization: reducing Harberger triangles and Okun gaps," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 209-214, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Cited by:

    1. Xavier Debrun & Jean Pisani-Ferry & André Sapir, 2008. "Government size and output volatility: should we forsake automatic stabilisation?," Working Papers 47, Bruegel.
    2. Checherita-Westphal, Cristina & Attinasi, Maria Grazia & Rieth, Malte, 2011. "Labour tax progressivity and output volatility: evidence from OECD countries," Working Paper Series 1380, European Central Bank.
    3. European Commission, 2010. "Tax Policy after the Crisis: Monitoring Tax Revenues and Tax Reforms in EU Member States 2010 Report," Taxation Papers 24, Directorate General Taxation and Customs Union, European Commission.

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