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  • Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth x
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Philipp Engler, Mr. Giovanni Ganelli, Juha Tervala, and Simon Voigts
Using a DSGE model calibrated to the euro area, we analyze the international effects of a fiscal devaluation (FD) implemented as a revenue-neutral shift from employer's social contributions to the Value Added Tax. We find that a FD in ‘Southern European countries’ has a strong positive effect on output, but mild effects on the trade balance and the real exchange rate. Since the benefits of a FD are small relative to the divergence in competitiveness, it is best addressed through structural reforms.
Mr. Michael Keen
This paper addresses two fundamental issues in indirect tax design. It first revisits the case for reduced rates on items especially important to the poor, establishing conditions under which even very crudely targeted spending measures better serve their interests. It then explores the welfare costs from cascading taxes, showing that these may actually be lower the wider the set of inputs that are taxed but, more to the point—and contrary to the common notion that “a low rate on a broad base” is always good tax policy—may plausibly be large even at a low nominal tax rate and with few stages of production.
Mr. Michael Keen and Ruud A. de Mooij
This paper focuses on two core tax design issues that arise in addressing current fiscal challenges. It first explores the idea, prominent in troubled Eurozone countries, of a "fiscal devaluation": shifting from social contributions to the VAT as a way to mimic a nominal devaluation. Empirical evidence is presented which suggests that in Eurozone countries this may indeed improve the trade balance in the short-run, though, as theory predicts, the effects eventually disappear. The paper then assesses the wider scope for VAT reform in meeting fiscal consolidation needs, developing and beginning to apply a methodology for finding additional VAT revenue in ways less distortionary and fairer than further raising the standard rate.
International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues Paper quantifies the variability of tax elasticities in Lithuania using two alternative methods: rolling regressions and pooled mean group estimator. The analysis is motivated by the systematic variation of tax revenues observed over the economic cycle. Both methods confirm that tax elasticities moved with the cycle, which can be attributed to the procyclical tax compliance tendencies and structural composition effects across tax bases. The results of the study emphasize the importance of accounting for cyclical variation in tax elasticities when making short-term tax revenue projections.
Mr. Tigran Poghosyan
This paper quantifies the variability of tax elasticities in Lithuania using two alternative methods: rolling regressions and pooled mean group estimator. The analysis is motivated by the systematic variation of tax revenues observed over the economic cycle in the recent past. Both methods confirm that tax elasticities moved with the cycle, which can be attributed to the procyclical tax compliance tendencies and structural composition effects across tax bases. Comparison of VAT revenue gaps across Baltic countries during the recent recovery suggests that tax revenues rebounded fastest in Estonia, followed by Lithuania and Latvia. Overall, the results of the study emphasize the importance of accounting for cyclical variation in tax elasticities when making short-term tax revenue projections.
Mr. David A Vines and Sven Jari Stehn
We analyse optimal monetary and fiscal policy in a New-Keynesian model with public debt and inflation persistence. Leith and Wren-Lewis (2007) have shown that optimal discretionary policy is subject to a 'debt stabilization bias' which requires debt to be returned to its pre-shock level. This finding has two important implications for optimal discretionary policy. Firstly, as Leith and Wren-Lewis have shown, optimal monetary policy in an economy with high steady-state debt cuts the interest rate in response to a cost-push shock - and therefore violates the Taylor principle. We show that this striking result is not true with high degrees of inflation persistence. Secondly, we show that optimal fiscal policy is more active under discretion than commitment at all degrees of inflation persistence and all levels of debt.
Efraim Sadka and Assaf Razin
The extent of taxation and redistribution policy is generally determined at a political-economy equilibrium by a balance between those who gain and those who lose from a more extensive tax-transfer policy. In a stylized model of migration and human capital formation, we find, somewhat against conventional wisdom, that low-skill migration may lead to a lower tax burden and less redistribution than no migration, even though the migrants join the pro-tax coalition.
International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
This paper deals with liberalization and the evolution of output during the transition from plan to market. It explains why strong liberalization leads to a comparatively steep fall in output early in the transition, but a relatively strong recovery later on. Because it takes time to restructure the capital stock inherited from the old system, liberalization initially leads to transitional unemployment of capital and the contraction of the old enterprise sector. By making room quickly for the new, more efficient enterprises, however, liberalization also sets the stage for recovery and a much higher level of income in the medium term. [JEL E23, P21, P27, P52]
Mr. William Jack
This paper presents calculations of the efficiency with which value-added taxes are collected in five transition economies in Central and Eastern Europe. Actual VAT revenues in 1994 are compared with those that would have resulted if the statutory VAT rates had been applied without any revenue leakage. The five countries fall into two broad groups, one exhibiting relatively high collection efficiency, and the other relatively low efficiency. While lack of detailed information on tax rules and consumption patterns makes definitive conclusions difficult, the impact of exemptions is shown to likely strengthen the comparative results.
Mr. George A Mackenzie
Developing countries with VATs typically exempt a large number of goods and services. Following a brief discussion of the rationale for exemptions, this paper presents a formula for the base of a VAT with exemptions. Two basic adjustments must be made to the base without exemptions: subtraction of the value of sales to consumers of exempt industries and addition of intermediate sales of taxable inputs to exempt industries. The paper concludes with a derivation of the elasticity of a VAT with exemptions with respect to aggregate consumption and a discussion of the implications of technological change for the VAT base.