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Saving Europe? The unpleasant arithmetic of fiscal austerity in integrated economies

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  • Mendoza, Enrique G.
  • Tesar, Linda L.
  • Zhang, Jing

Abstract

Europe's debt crisis casts doubt on the effectiveness of fiscal austerity in highly-integrated economies. Closed-economy models overestimate its effectiveness, because they underestimate tax-base elasticities and ignore cross-country tax externalities. In contrast, we study tax responses to debt shocks in a two-country model with endogenous utilization that captures those externalities and matches the capital-tax-base elasticity. Quantitative results show that unilateral capital tax hikes cannot restore fiscal solvency in Europe, and have large negative (positive) effects at "home" ("abroad"). Restoring solvency via either Nash competition or Cooperation reduces (increases) capital (labor) taxes significantly, and leaves countries with larger debt shocks preferring autarky.

Suggested Citation

  • Mendoza, Enrique G. & Tesar, Linda L. & Zhang, Jing, 2014. "Saving Europe? The unpleasant arithmetic of fiscal austerity in integrated economies," SAFE Working Paper Series 80, Research Center SAFE - Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe, Goethe University Frankfurt.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:safewp:80
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Stéphane Auray & Aurélien Eyquem & Paul Gomme, 2016. "A Tale Of Tax Policies In Open Economies," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 57, pages 1299-1333, November.
    2. Mathias Trabandt & Harald Uhlig, 2006. "How Far Are We From The Slippery Slope? The Laffer Curve Revisited," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2006-023, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
    3. Stephen J. Turnovsky, 1997. "International Macroeconomic Dynamics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262201119, October.
    4. Mendoza, Enrique G. & Ostry, Jonathan D., 2008. "International evidence on fiscal solvency: Is fiscal policy "responsible"?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(6), pages 1081-1093, September.
    5. Jacob Frenkel & Assaf Razin & Efraim Sadka, 1991. "International Taxation in an Integrated World," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061430, October.
    6. Mendoza, Enrique G. & Razin, Assaf & Tesar, Linda L., 1994. "Effective tax rates in macroeconomics: Cross-country estimates of tax rates on factor incomes and consumption," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 297-323, December.
    7. MaCurdy, Thomas E, 1981. "An Empirical Model of Labor Supply in a Life-Cycle Setting," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(6), pages 1059-1085, December.
    8. Mathias Trabandt & Harald Uhlig, 2012. "How Do Laffer Curves Differ across Countries?," NBER Chapters,in: Fiscal Policy after the Financial Crisis, pages 211-249 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Enrique G. Mendoza & Linda L. Tesar, 1995. "Supply-Side Economics in a Global Economy," NBER Working Papers 5086, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    11. Dwenger, Nadja & Steiner, Viktor, 2012. "Profit Taxation and the Elasticity of the Corporate Income Tax Base: Evidence From German Corporate Tax Return Data," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 65(1), pages 118-150, March.
    12. Mendoza, Enrique G. & Tesar, Linda L., 2005. "Why hasn't tax competition triggered a race to the bottom? Some quantitative lessons from the EU," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 163-204, January.
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    15. Mendoza, Enrique G. & Milesi-Ferretti, Gian Maria & Asea, Patrick, 1997. "On the ineffectiveness of tax policy in altering long-run growth: Harberger's superneutrality conjecture," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 99-126, October.
    16. Mendoza, Enrique G & Tesar, Linda L, 1998. "The International Ramifications of Tax Reforms: Supply-Side Economics in a Global Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 226-245, March.
    17. Bohn, Henning, 2007. "Are stationarity and cointegration restrictions really necessary for the intertemporal budget constraint?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(7), pages 1837-1847, October.
    18. Christopher L. House & Matthew D. Shapiro, 2008. "Temporary Investment Tax Incentives: Theory with Evidence from Bonus Depreciation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 737-768, June.
    19. Stéphane Auray & Aurélien Eyquem & Paul Gomme, 2016. "A Tale Of Tax Policies In Open Economies," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 57, pages 1299-1333, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Janeba, Eckhard & Todtenhaupt, Maximilian, 2018. "Fiscal competition and public debt," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 168(C), pages 47-61.
    2. Curatola, Giuliano & Donadelli, Michael & Gioffré, Alessandro & Grüning, Patrick, 2014. "Austerity, fiscal volatility, and economic growth," SAFE Working Paper Series 56, Research Center SAFE - Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe, Goethe University Frankfurt.
    3. Eijffinger, S.C.W. & Kobielarz, M.L. & Uras, R.B., 2015. "Sovereign Debt, Bail-Outs and Contagion in a Monetary Union," Discussion Paper 2015-018, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    4. Xiaoshan Chen & Campbell Leith & Mattia Ricci, 2018. "Debt Sustainability and Welfare along an Optimal Laffer Curve," Working Papers 2018_02, Durham University Business School.
    5. Enrique Mendoza, 2015. "EconomicDynamics Interviews Enrique Mendoza on Sovereign Debt," EconomicDynamics Newsletter, Review of Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(1), April.
    6. repec:nse:ecosta:ecostat_2017_494-495-496_5 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. repec:eee:macchp:v2-2493 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Christopher L. House & Linda L. Tesar, 2015. "Greek Budget Realities: No Easy Options," NBER Working Papers 21688, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. repec:prs:ecsecs:estat_0336-1454_2017_num_494_1_10782 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. repec:prs:ecstat:estat_0336-1454_2017_num_494_1_10782 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. repec:eee:dyncon:v:85:y:2017:i:c:p:90-122 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    European debt crisis; capacity utilization; fiscal austerity; tax competition;

    JEL classification:

    • E61 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • E66 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General Outlook and Conditions
    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems
    • F42 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - International Policy Coordination and Transmission
    • F62 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization - - - Macroeconomic Impacts

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