'Fiscal Devaluation' and Fiscal Consolidation: The Vat in Troubled Times
45 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2012 Last revised: 5 Jan 2013
Date Written: March 2012
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 quite sizably 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.
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