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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, Leibniz Institute for Financial Research SAFE.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:safewp:80
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    European debt crisis; capacity utilization; fiscal austerity; tax competition;
    All these keywords.

    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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