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Europe Through the Crisis: Discretionary Policy Changes and Automatic Stabilizers

Alari Paulus and Iva Tasseva

Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, 2020, vol. 82, issue 4, 864-888

Abstract: Tax‐benefit policies affect changes in household incomes through two main channels: discretionary policy changes and automatic stabilizers. We study their role in the EU countries in 2007–14 using an extended decomposition approach. Our results show that the two policy actions often reduced rather than increased inequality of net incomes, and so helped offset the inequality‐increasing impact of growing disparities in gross market incomes. While inequality reductions were achieved mainly through benefits using both routes, policy changes to and the automatic stabilization response of taxes and contributions raised inequality in some countries and lowered it in others.

Date: 2020
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