This paper discusses how to enhance automatic stabilizers without increasing the size of government. We distinguish between permanent changes in the parameters of the tax and expenditure system (e.g., changes in tax progressivity) that will enhance the traditional automatic stabilizer, and temporary changes triggered by certain economic developments (e.g., tax measures targeted at credit and liquidity constrained households, triggered during a severe downturn). We argue that, with some exceptions, the latter are preferable as they can be implemented with lower disruptions in other fiscal policy goals (e.g., economic efficiency). Moreover, countries should also avoid introducing procyclicality as a result of fiscal rules, as these would offset the effect of existing automatic stabilizers.
Mr. David Amaglobeli, Mr. Valerio Crispolti, Ms. Era Dabla-Norris, Pooja Karnane, and Florian Misch
This paper describes a new, comprehensive database of tax policy measures in 23 advanced and emerging market economies over the last four decades. We extract this information from more than 900 OECD Economic Surveys and 37,000 tax-related news from the International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation using text-mining techniques. The innovation of this dataset lies in its granularity: changes in the rates and bases of personal and corporate income taxes, value added and sale taxes, social security contributions, excise, and property taxes are systematically documented. In addition, the database provides information on the announcement and implementation dates, whether the measures represent major changes, are part of a broader tax package, and phased in over several years. The paper also presents a range of stylized facts suggesting that information from this database is useful to deepen the analysis of tax policy changes for research and policy purposes.
Ms. Katrin Elborgh-Woytek and Mr. Julian Berengaut
The paper analyzes the initial output decline in transition economies by estimating a crosssection model stressing two major factors-conflicts and the legacies of the Soviet period. We link the Soviet legacies in place at the outset of the transition to the subsequent path for the development of market-related institutions. Institutional development (as proxied by measures of corruption) is used as an intermediate variable. An instrumental variable approach is followed to derive estimates that are not biased by the possible endogeneity of corruption with respect to output developments. Assuming that the extent of Soviet legacies was positively correlated with the length of the communist rule allows us to use the years under the Soviet regime as an instrument.