Partial Fiscalization: Some Lessons on Europe's Unfinished Business

25 Pages Posted: 19 Mar 2017 Last revised: 20 Mar 2017

See all articles by Michael D. Bordo

Michael D. Bordo

Rutgers University, New Brunswick - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Harold James

Princeton University - Department of History; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: March 2017

Abstract

The recent Eurozone crisis of 2010-2013 has brought to the fore the argument that a successful monetary union needs to be combined with a fiscal union. The history of the U.S. monetary/fiscal union is often given as a template for Europe. In this paper we describe how the push towards creation of the American fiscal union was long and arduous—it took from 1790 to the mid 1930s. In the European case ,unlike the U.S. story, there is strong opposition to creating a fiscal union because members fear the loss of sovereignty that is entailed. As a compromise between the status quo and a U.S. style fiscal union we highlight a series of measures which amount to partial fiscalization. These include: a banking union; a tax union; a capital markets union; a social security union; an energy union; and a military union. These fiscalizations can be viewed as a variety of insurance mechanisms in which different risks for different participants are covered. Each taken by itself may produce substantial objections from those who fear that someone else’s risks are being covered at their expense. The answer to such objections may be to think not in terms of partial but comprehensive reform packages as are often negotiated in the sphere of international trade.

Suggested Citation

Bordo, Michael D. and James, Harold, Partial Fiscalization: Some Lessons on Europe's Unfinished Business (March 2017). NBER Working Paper No. w23220. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2935405

Michael D. Bordo (Contact Author)

Rutgers University, New Brunswick - Department of Economics ( email )

New Brunswick, NJ
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Harold James

Princeton University - Department of History ( email )

Princeton, NJ 08544
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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