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Inequality in EU Crisis Countries: How Effective Were Automatic Stabilisers?

Author

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  • Callan, Tim

    () (Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin)

  • Doorley, Karina

    () (Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin)

  • Savage, Michael

    () (University College Dublin)

Abstract

The Great Recession and the widespread adoption of fiscal austerity policies have heightened concern about inequality and how well tax-benefit systems redistribute. We examine how the distribution of income in the EU countries which were hardest hit during the recession evolved over this time. Using and extending a recently developed framework (Savage et al., 2017), the overall change in income inequality is decomposed into parts attributable to the change in market income inequality, changes in discretionary tax-benefit policy and automatic stabilisation effects. We implement this approach using the microsimulation software, EUROMOD, linked to EU-SILC survey data. Automatic stabilisation effects, particularly through benefits, are found to play an important role in reducing inequality in all the crisis countries. Their role is less important if we focus on the working age population only, due to the relative importance of old-age benefits in southern European welfare systems. Discretionary policy changes also contributed to reductions in inequality, but to a much lesser extent.

Suggested Citation

  • Callan, Tim & Doorley, Karina & Savage, Michael, 2018. "Inequality in EU Crisis Countries: How Effective Were Automatic Stabilisers?," IZA Discussion Papers 11439, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp11439
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Nathalie Girouard & Christophe André, 2005. "Measuring Cyclically-adjusted Budget Balances for OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 434, OECD Publishing.
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    3. Funke, Manuel & Schularick, Moritz & Trebesch, Christoph, 2016. "Going to extremes: Politics after financial crises, 1870–2014," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 227-260.
    4. SOLOGON Denisa & VAN KERM Philippe & LI Jinjing & O'DONOGHUE Cathal, 2018. "Accounting for Differences in Income Inequality across Countries: Ireland and the United Kingdom," LISER Working Paper Series 2018-01, LISER.
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    6. Martin Browning & Pierre-André Chiappori & Valérie Lechene, 2010. "Distributional Effects in Household Models: Separate Spheres and Income Pooling," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(545), pages 786-799, June.
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    11. Nico Pestel & Eric Sommer, 2017. "Shifting Taxes from Labor to Consumption: More Employment and more Inequality?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 63(3), pages 542-563, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dolls, Mathias & Doorley, Karina & Paulus, Alari & Schneider, Hilmar & Sommer, Eric, 2018. "Demographic Change and the European Income Distribution," IZA Discussion Papers 11440, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    inequality; decomposition; great recession; discretionary policy; automatic stabilisation;

    JEL classification:

    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

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