Automatic fiscal stabilisers in EMU: a conflict between efficiency and stabilization?
It is often claimed that tax and welfare reforms that aim at enhancing efficiency may come at the cost of cyclical stabilisation. Reducing the generosity of welfare systems and lowering taxes may boost efficiency and output, and improve market adjustment to shocks. But, by reducing the size of automatic stabilisers, it may also imply less cyclical smoothing. This would be unwelcome in EMU given the loss of national monetary autonomy and the well-known pitfalls of active fiscal management. This paper argues that the alleged trade-off between efficiency/flexibility and stabilisation may not exist. We show that, if the initial level of the tax burden is high, reducing it may lead to higher output stabilisation in the event of a supply shock and higher inflation stabilisation in the event of a demand shock. Simulations show that European countries - especially small ones - might have a tax burden close to or even higher than the threshold level. (JEL E52, E61, F42)
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|Date of creation:||2003|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||Published in: C E S - I F O Economic Studies (2003) v.49 n° 1,p.123-140|
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