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Fiscal consolidation in the euro area: Long-run benefits and short-run costs

Günter Coenen (), Matthias Mohr () and Roland Straub

Economic Modelling, 2008, vol. 25, issue 5, 912-932

Abstract: In this paper, we examine the macroeconomic effects of alternative fiscal consolidation policies in the New Area-Wide Model (NAWM), a two-country open-economy model of the euro area developed at the European Central Bank (cf. [Coenen, G., McAdam, P., Straub, R., in press. Tax reform and labour-market performance in the euro area: a simulation-based analysis using the New Area-Wide Model. Forthcoming in the Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control]). We model fiscal consolidation as a permanent reduction in the targeted government debt-to-output ratio and analyse both expenditure and revenue-based policies that are implemented by means of simple fiscal feedback rules. We find that fiscal consolidation has positive long-run effects on key macroeconomic aggregates such as output and consumption, notably when the resulting improvement in the budgetary position is used to lower distortionary taxes. At the same time, fiscal consolidation gives rise to noticeable short-run adjustment costs in contrast to what the literature on expansionary fiscal consolidations suggests. Moreover, depending on the fiscal instrument used, fiscal consolidation may have pronounced distributional effects.

Date: 2008
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