The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
The paper considers the issue of whether a supranational fiscal policy in Europe is needed, and, if so, what responsibilities it should undertake. The literature on endogenous growth and the principle of subsidiarity suggest that such a policy should be limited to externalities or economies of scale not captured at the national level. These may include spending on research and development and transportation or knowledge networks, and harmonization of social security designed to enhance labor mobility. EU-wide stabilization policy or enhanced EU redistribution does not seem justified, however.