Ruud A. de Mooij, Dinar Prihardini, Antje Pflugbeil, and Mr. Emil Stavrev
Luxembourg receives ample investment from multinational corporations, in part due to some attractive features in its international tax rules. Around 95 percent of these foreign investments pass through Luxembourg via companies performing holding and/or intra-group financing activities. While their contribution to Luxembourg’s economy is modest relative to their large overall balance sheets, they still generate around 3 percent of GDP in tax revenue, create almost 4500 direct jobs, and spend almost 3 percent of GDP on salaries and purchases of business services. Ongoing changes in the international corporate tax framework pose risks to these economic contributions, which this paper attempts to quantify. It also discusses options for reforms in Luxembourg’s tax system that could help offset adverse revenue and economic effects.
Wage rises have remained stubbornly low in advanced Europe in recent years, but, at the same time, newer EU members are experiencing rapid wage acceleration. This paper investigates the drivers of this wage divergence. Econometric analysis using error correction models suggests that wage growth responds more quickly to changes in unemployment in the newer EU members than in advanced Europe, where wages are more closely related to inflation and inflation expectations in the short run, implying greater inertia in nominal wage rises in advanced Europe. In the years after the global crisis, this inertia contributed to the build up of a real wage overhang relative to sharply slowing labor productivity, which subsequently dragged on nominal wage rises even as unemployment began to decline. Spillovers of subdued wage growth between euro area countries also weighed on wage rises in advanced Europe.
This paper revisits the issue of cross-country spillovers from fiscal consolidations using an innovative empirical methodology. We find evidence in support of fiscal spillovers in 10 euro area countries. Fiscal consolidation in one country not only reduces domestic output (direct effect), but also the output of other member countries (indirect/spillover effect). Fiscal spillovers are larger for: (i) more closely located and economically integrated countries, and (ii) fiscal shocks originating from relatively larger countries. On average, 1 percent of GDP fiscal consolidation in 10 euro area countries reduces the combined output by 0.6 percent on impact, out of which half is driven by indirect effects from fiscal spillovers. The impact peters out and becomes insignificant over the medium-term. It is largely driven by tax measures, which have a relatively stronger effect on output compared to expenditure measures. The results are robust to alternative measures of bilateral links across countries.
This Selected Issues paper studies diversification in Luxembourg’s economy and the role of the government. The economy of Luxembourg appears to be more concentrated than that of comparable countries. Sectoral output is more concentrated than in other countries; this relative lack of diversification is true even when the financial sector is excluded and even compared with other European countries with a small population. However, employment concentration is similar to that in other countries. Luxembourg specializes in sectors whose labor productivity is somewhat higher than in several benchmark countries. The government should continue to further diversify the economy by fostering an environment for growth.