Fiscal Federalism and Optimum Currency Areas: Evidence for Europe From the United States
The main goal of this paper is to estimate to what extent the federal government of the United States insures member states against regional income shocks. We find that a one dollar reduction in a region's per capita personal income triggers a decrease in federal taxes of about 34 cents and an increase in federal transfers of about 6 cents. Hence, the final reduction in disposable per capita income is on the order of 60 cents. That is, between one third and one half of the initial shock is absorbed by the federal government. The much larger reaction of taxes than transfers to these regional imbalances reflects the fact that the main mechanism at work is the federal income tax system which in turn means that the stabilization process is automatic rather than specifically designed each time there is a cyclical movement in income. Some economists may want to argue that this regional insurance scheme provided by the federal government is an important reason why the system of fixed exchange rates that exists within the United States today has survived without major problems. Under this view, the creation of a European Central Bank that issues unified European currency without the simultaneous introduction (or expansion) of a fiscal federalist system could put the project at risk. Rough calculations of the impact of the existing European tax system on regional income suggests that a one dollar shock to regional GDP will reduce tax payments to the EEC government by half a cent!. Hence, the current European tax system has a long way to go before it reaches the 34 cents of the U.S. Federal Government.
|Date of creation:||Oct 1991|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as De Grauwe, Paul (ed.) The political economy of monetary union, Elgar Reference Collection. International Library of Critical Writings in Economics, vol. 134. Cheltenham, U.K. and Northampton, MA: Elgar, 2001.|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Barro, Robert J, 1974.
"Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
- Barro, Robert J. & Gordon, David B., 1983.
"Rules, discretion and reputation in a model of monetary policy,"
Journal of Monetary Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 101-121.
- Robert J. Barro & David B. Gordon, 1983. "Rules, Discretion and Reputation in a Model of Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 1079, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Maurice Obstfeld, 1984.
"Capital Controls, The Dual Exchange Rate, and Devaluation,"
NBER Working Papers
1324, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Obstfeld, Maurice, 1986. "Capital controls, the dual exchange rate, and devaluation," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1-2), pages 1-20, February.
- Thomas Willett & Edward Tower, 1970. "Currency areas and exchange-rate flexibility," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 105(1), pages 48-65, September.
- Blanchard, Olivier J, 1985.
"Debt, Deficits, and Finite Horizons,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(2), pages 223-47, April.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3855. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.