Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
Working Paper Series
Saving Europe?: The Unpleasant Arithmetic of Fiscal Austerity in Integrated Economies
What are the macroeconomic effects of tax adjustments in response to large public debt shocks in highly integrated economies? The answer from standard closed-economy models is deceptive, because they underestimate the elasticity of capital tax revenues and ignore cross-country spillovers of tax changes. Instead, we examine this issue using a two-country model that matches the observed elasticity of the capital tax base by introducing endogenous capacity utilization and a partial depreciation allowance. Tax hikes have adverse effects on macro aggregates and welfare, and trigger strong cross-country externalities. Quantitative analysis calibrated to European data shows that unilateral capital tax increases cannot restore fiscal solvency, because the dynamic Laffer curve peaks below the required revenue increase. Unilateral labor tax hikes can do it, but have negative output and welfare effects at home and raise welfare and output abroad. Large spillovers also imply that unilateral capital tax hikes are much less costly under autarky than under free trade. Allowing for one-shot Nash tax competition, the model predicts a “race to the bottom” in capital taxes and higher labor taxes. The cooperative equilibrium is preferable, but capital (labor) taxes are still lower (higher) than initially. Moreover, autarky can produce higher welfare than both Nash and Cooperative equilibria.
Cite this item
Enrique G. Mendoza & Linda L. Tesar & Jing Zhang, Saving Europe?: The Unpleasant Arithmetic of Fiscal Austerity in Integrated Economies, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Working Paper Series WP-2014-13, 06 Oct 2014.
- 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
Keywords: European debt crisis; tax competition; capacity utilization; fiscal austerity
This item with handle RePEc:fip:fedhwp:wp-2014-13
is also listed on EconPapers
For corrections, contact Bernie Flores ()