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Fiscal Union in Europe? Efficiency, Equity and Stabilizing Effects of an EU-Wide Income Tax

  • Neumann, Dirk
  • Bargain, Olivier
  • Dolls, Mathias
  • Fuest, Clemens
  • Peichl, Andreas

One central lesson of the sovereign debt crisis is that the Eurozone (and the EU) needs institutional reform. Many observers argue that the monetary union should be complemented by a fiscal union . In this paper we provide the first quantitative analysis of important economic effects of an EU income tax. Using the European tax-benefit calculator EUROMOD, we simulate detailed individual budget curves in order to estimate an average EU tax system . Three key issues are analyzed: firstly, we assess the direct distributional implications of an EU tax (partly) replacing national tax systems. Applying different voting schemes, we especially investigate whether such a step could find political support in each country and the EU as a whole. Secondly, by using behavioral simulation techniques we analyze the impact of introducing a common tax on economic efficiency and adjust the distributional effects accordingly. Thirdly, we investigate the potential of an EU income tax to act as an automatic fiscal stabilizer in the event of an asymmetric shock. We derive crucial policy implications from our simulation exercise for the reform of the Eurozone and shed some light on a very important set of questions: How would further fiscal integration economically affect different households in the different member states? How would it affect automatic stabilizers in the EU?

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Paper provided by Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association in its series Annual Conference 2012 (Goettingen): New Approaches and Challenges for the Labor Market of the 21st Century with number 66063.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc12:66063
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  1. Clemens Fuest & Andreas Peichl, 2012. "European Fiscal Union: What Is It? Does It work? And Are There Really 'No Alternatives'?," CESifo Forum, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 13(1), pages 03-09, 04.
  2. Engwerda, J.C. & van Aarle, B. & Plasmans, J.E.J., 2002. "Cooperative and non-cooperative fiscal stabilization policies in the EMU," Other publications TiSEM 2cc19f3f-16ad-4fed-a701-5, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  3. Mathias Dolls & Clemens Fuest & Andreas Peichl, 2010. "Automatic Stabilizers and Economic Crisis: US vs. Europe," Cologne Graduate School Working Paper Series 01-02, Cologne Graduate School in Management, Economics and Social Sciences.
  4. Richard Blundell & Alan Duncan & Julian McCrae & Costas Meghir, 2000. "The labour market impact of the working families’ tax credit," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 21(1), pages 75-103, March.
  5. Büttner, Thiess, 2005. "The Incentive Effect of Fiscal Equalization Transfers on Tax Policy," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 37, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
  6. Kai A. Konrad & Holger Zschäpitz, 2011. "The Future of the Eurozone," CESifo Forum, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 12(2), pages 46-49, 07.
  7. Shlomo Yitzhaki, 1979. "Relative Deprivation and the Gini Coefficient," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 93(2), pages 321-324.
  8. Hilary Hoynes, 1993. "Welfare Transfers in Two-Parent Families: Labor Supply and Welfare Participation Under AFDC-UP," NBER Working Papers 4407, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Bargain, Olivier & Orsini, Kristian & Peichl, Andreas, 2011. "Labor Supply Elasticities in Europe and the US," IZA Discussion Papers 5820, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Alan J. Auerbach & Daniel Feenberg, 2000. "The Significance of Federal Taxes as Automatic Stabilizers," NBER Working Papers 7662, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Beetsma Roel M.W.J. & Bovenberg A. Lans, 1995. "Monetary union without fiscal coordination may discipline policymakers," Research Memorandum 024, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
  12. Eichengreen, Barry, 1990. "One Money for Europe? Lessons from the US Currency Union," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt6ks1k831, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  13. Paul van den Noord, 2000. "The Size and Role of Automatic Fiscal Stabilizers in the 1990s and Beyond," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 230, OECD Publishing.
  14. Arthur van Soest, 1995. "Structural Models of Family Labor Supply: A Discrete Choice Approach," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(1), pages 63-88.
  15. Christian Keuschnigg, 2012. "Should Europe Become a Fiscal Union?," CESifo Forum, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 13(1), pages 35-43, 04.
  16. Dixit, Avinash & Lambertini, Luisa, 2003. "Symbiosis of monetary and fiscal policies in a monetary union," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 235-247, August.
  17. Wallace E. Oates, 1999. "An Essay on Fiscal Federalism," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(3), pages 1120-1149, September.
  18. Michael D. Bordo & Lars Jonung & Agnieszka Markiewicz, 2013. "A Fiscal Union for the Euro: Some Lessons from History ," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 59(3), pages 449-488, September.
  19. Andr� Sapir, 2011. "European Integration at the Crossroads: A Review Essay on the 50th Anniversary of Bela Balassa's Theory of Economic Integration," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(4), pages 1200-1229, December.
  20. Roel Beetsma & Massimo Giuliodori, 2010. "The Macroeconomic Costs and Benefits of the EMU and Other Monetary Unions: An Overview of Recent Research," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(3), pages 603-41, September.
  21. Joseph A. Pechman, 1973. "Responsiveness of the Federal Individual Income Tax to Changes in Income," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 4(2), pages 385-428.
  22. Hammond, George & von Hagen, Jürgen, 1995. "Regional Insurance Against Asymmetric Shocks. An Empirical Study for the European Community," CEPR Discussion Papers 1170, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  23. Barry Eichengreen & Charles Wyplosz, 1998. "The Stability Pact: more than a minor nuisance?," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 13(26), pages 65-113, 04.
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