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Fiscal Devaluation and Fiscal Consolidation; The VAT in Troubled Times

  • Michael Keen
  • Ruud A. de Mooij

This paper focuses on two core tax design issues that arise in addressing current fiscal challenges. It first explores the idea, prominent in troubled Eurozone countries, of a "fiscal devaluation": shifting from social contributions to the VAT as a way to mimic a nominal devaluation. Empirical evidence is presented which suggests that in Eurozone countries this may indeed improve the trade balance in the short-run, though, as theory predicts, the effects eventually disappear. The paper then assesses the wider scope for VAT reform in meeting fiscal consolidation needs, developing and beginning to apply a methodology for finding additional VAT revenue in ways less distortionary and fairer than further raising the standard rate.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 12/85.

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Length: 48
Date of creation: 01 Mar 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:12/85
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  1. Ben Lockwood & Michael Keen, 2007. "The Value-Added Tax; Its Causes and Consequences," IMF Working Papers 07/183, International Monetary Fund.
  2. Diamond, Peter A & Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "Optimal Taxation and Public Production: I--Production Efficiency," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(1), pages 8-27, March.
  3. Andrea Bassanini & Romain Duval, 2006. "Employment Patterns in OECD Countries: Reassessing the Role of Policies and Institutions," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 486, OECD Publishing.
  4. Farhi, Emmanuel & Gopinath, Gita & Itskhoki, Oleg, 2011. "Fiscal Devaluations," CEPR Discussion Papers 8721, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Anna Ivanova, 2012. "Current Account Imbalances; Can Structural Policies Make a Difference?," IMF Working Papers 12/61, International Monetary Fund.
  6. Alesina, Alberto & Perotti, Roberto, 1997. "The Welfare State and Competitiveness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 921-39, December.
  7. Jens Arnold, 2008. "Do Tax Structures Affect Aggregate Economic Growth?: Empirical Evidence from a Panel of OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 643, OECD Publishing.
  8. John C. Haltiwanger & Ron S. Jarmin & Javier Miranda, 2010. "Who Creates Jobs? Small vs. Large vs. Young," NBER Working Papers 16300, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Keen, Michael & Lockwood, Ben, 2006. "Is the VAT a Money Machine?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 59(4), pages 905-28, December.
  10. Calmfors, L., 1998. "Macroeconomic Policy, Wage Setting and Employment -What Differences Does the EMU Make?," Papers 657, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  11. Stephen Smith & Michael Keen, 2007. "VAT Fraud and Evasion; What Do We Know, and What Can be Done?," IMF Working Papers 07/31, International Monetary Fund.
  12. Calmfors, Lars, 1998. "Macroeconomic Policy, Wage Setting, and Employment--What Difference Does the EMU Make?," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(3), pages 125-51, Autumn.
  13. Alexandre Mathis, 2004. "VAT indicators," Taxation Papers 2, Directorate General Taxation and Customs Union, European Commission, revised Apr 2004.
  14. Jaewoo Lee & Jonathan David Ostry & Alessandro Prati & Luca Antonio Ricci & Gian-Maria Milesi-Ferretti, 2008. "Exchange Rate Assessments; CGER Methodologies," IMF Occasional Papers 261, International Monetary Fund.
  15. Reckon, 2009. "Study to quantify and analyse the VAT gap in the EU-25 Member States," Taxation Studies 0029, Directorate General Taxation and Customs Union, European Commission.
  16. Lane, Philip R. & Perotti, Roberto, 1998. "The trade balance and fiscal policy in the OECD," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 887-895, May.
  17. Kent Matthews, 2003. "VAT Evasion and VAT Avoidance: Is there a European Laffer curve for VAT?," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(1), pages 105-114.
  18. Calmfors, Lars, 1998. "Macroeconomic Policy, Wage Setting and Employment - What Difference Does the EMU Make?," Seminar Papers 657, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  19. Daveri, Francesco & Tabellini, Guido, 1997. "Unemployment, Growth and Taxation in Industrial Countries," CEPR Discussion Papers 1681, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  20. Perotti, Roberto & Alesina, Alberto, 1997. "The Welfare State and Competitiveness," Scholarly Articles 4553027, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  21. Menzie D. Chinn & Eswar S. Prasad, 2000. "Medium-Term Determinants of Current Accounts in Industrial and Developing Countries: An Empirical Exploration," NBER Working Papers 7581, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Matz Dahlberg & Anders Forslund, 2005. "Direct Displacement Effects of Labour Market Programmes," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 107(3), pages 475-494, 09.
  23. Brett, Craig & Keen, Michael, 2000. "Political uncertainty and the earmarking of environmental taxes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(3), pages 315-340, March.
  24. Auerbach, Alan J., 2006. "The Choice between Income and Consumption Taxes: A Primer," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt9q85f6qz, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
  25. Stephan Danninger & Alina Carare, 2008. "Inflation Smoothing and the Modest Effect of VAT in Germany," IMF Working Papers 08/175, International Monetary Fund.
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