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.
This paper examines the interest spending and taxation channels through which EMU could affect the public finances. It provides a framework for examining different views on a further narrowing of interest rate differentials. A model of Blanchard and Fischer is amended to analyze the two channels, and empirical evidence on the tax harmonization process is presented. The paper argues that “high-debt” and “high-tax” countries pursuing prudent fiscal policies could benefit the most from EMU: if monetary and widespread fiscal discipline are jointly established, interest rates could decline rapidly, while tax harmonization is likely to be gradual.