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Automatic fiscal stabilisers in EMU: a conflict between efficiency and stabilization?

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  • Khalid Sekkat
  • Marco Buti
  • Carlos Martinez-Mongay
  • Paul van den Noord

Abstract

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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Suggested Citation

  • Khalid Sekkat & Marco Buti & Carlos Martinez-Mongay & Paul van den Noord, 2003. "Automatic fiscal stabilisers in EMU: a conflict between efficiency and stabilization?," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/7354, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:ulb:ulbeco:2013/7354
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Torben Andersen, 2005. "Is there a Role for an Active Fiscal Stabilization Policy?," CESifo Working Paper Series 1447, CESifo.
    2. SOCOL Aura Gabriela, 2013. "Euro Zone Crisis. From "Optimum" To Collapse," Revista Economica, Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, Faculty of Economic Sciences, vol. 65(2), pages 31-42.
    3. Marco Buti & Werner Rüger & Alessandro Turrini, 2009. "Is Lisbon Far from Maastricht? Trade-offs and Complementarities between Fiscal Discipline and Structural Reforms," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 55(1), pages 165-196, March.
    4. Steven A. Symansky & Thomas Baunsgaard, 2009. "Automatic Fiscal Stabilizers," IMF Staff Position Notes 2009/23, International Monetary Fund.
    5. Szapáry, György & Orbán, Gábor, 2004. "A stabilitási és növekedési paktum az új tagállamok szemszögéből [The Stabilization and Growth Pact in the light of the new EU member-states]," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(9), pages 810-831.
    6. Mr. Xavier Debrun & Jean Pisani-Ferry & André Sapir, 2008. "Government Size and Output Volatility: Should We Forsake Automatic Stabilization?," IMF Working Papers 2008/122, International Monetary Fund.
    7. Nilsson, Kristian, 2008. "Conceptual Framework for Fiscal Policy," Occasional Papers 16, National Institute of Economic Research.
    8. Charl Jooste & Marina Marinkov, 2012. "South Africa'S Transition To A Consolidated Budget," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 80(2), pages 181-199, June.
    9. Orban, Gabor & Szapary, Gyorgy, 2004. "The Stability and Growth Pact from the perspective of the new member states," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 26(7), pages 839-864, October.
    10. M S Mohanty & Fabrizio Zampolli, 2009. "Government size and macroeconomic stability," BIS Quarterly Review, Bank for International Settlements, December.
    11. Alessandro Girardi & Paolo Paesani, 2008. "Structural Reforms and Fiscal Discipline in Europe," Transition Studies Review, Springer;Central Eastern European University Network (CEEUN), vol. 15(2), pages 389-402, September.
    12. 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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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E61 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination
    • F42 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - International Policy Coordination and Transmission

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