EconPol Policy Briefs

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Cover of EconPol Policy Brief 42

Reforming Economic Governance in the Eurozone: Shifting Spending Instead of Expanding Debt Margins

Clemens Fuest

In February 2020, the European Commission announced that it would present a plan for reforming the economic governance of the Eurozone, including the rules for public debt. The project was postponed by the outbreak of the corona pandemic, but now the reform is to come. There is a widespread demand to expand debt leeway, for example for climate protection spending. In view of the already very high national debt and rising inflation, this is the wrong way to go. Fiscal policy coordination should focus more on expenditure reallocations and thus on improving the quality, not the quantity of public spending. What is needed is a modified handling of the existing rules, not a change in the rules themselves.

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Cutting through the Value Chain: The Long-Run Effects of Decoupling the East from the West

Felbermayr, Gabriel J. / Mahlkow, Hendrik / Sandkamp, Alexander

This Policy Brief analyses the long-run effects of an economic decoupling between the political West (i.e. the EU, the US and their allies) and the East (first and foremost Russia and China). A decoupling of Russia from the US and its allies would have much more severe long-term impacts for real income in Russia (minus 9.7 percent) than in the US and its allies (minus 0.2 percent). The reason for the uneven distribution of costs lies primarily in Russia’s low economic importance compared with the US and its allies.

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The Recovery and Resilience Facility: A Springboard for a Renaissance of Public Investments in Europe?

Francesco Corti, Daniel Gros, Tomas Ruiz, Alessandro Liscai, Tamas Kiss-Galfalvi (EconPol Europe, CEPS) David Gstrein, Elena Herold, Mathias Dolls (EconPol Europe, ifo Institute)

The funds provided by the Recovery and Resilience Facility under the National Recovery Resilience Plans are supposed to finance new projects to supplement, not to supplant national efforts. This is also called additionality which has long been a key principle of the EU cohesion policy. According to this principle EU financial intervention should not substitute for national funding that would have been used in the absence of EU intervention. The purpose of this short contribution is to shed light on the additionality of public investments under the Recovery and Resilience Facility. To this end, the authors propose to look at additionality both from a macro and micro perspective. They apply the micro approach to four national recovery and resilience plans: Italy, Germany, Belgium and Austria.

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What Is the Substance‐Based Carve‐Out under Pillar 2? And How Will It Affect Tax Competition?

Michael P. Devereux, Martin Simmler, John Vella and Heydon Wardell‐Burrus

On 8 October 2021 Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen claimed that: “As of this morning, virtually the entire global economy has decided to end the race to the bot-tom on corporate taxation.” Tax competition threatens the long‐term viability of the existing international corporate tax system and bringing it to an end would thus be a veritable game‐changer. But is Secretary Yellen correct? Will the OECD/G20 Inclu-sive Framework’s “Two Pillar Solution” that has now been agreed by 137 jurisdic-tions, in particular the global minimum tax found in Pillar 2, bring competition in corporate taxation to an end? This note examines one of the factors that will deter-mine the impact of Pillar 2 on tax competition: the design of the substance‐based carve‐out.

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High Public Debt in an Uncertain World: Post-Covid-19 Dangers for Public Finance

Daniel Gros (EconPol Europe, CEPS)

In this EconPol Policy Brief Daniel Gros cautions countries with high debt ratios not to simply rely on low interest rates to make their (Covid-19) debt sustainable. Now that the health emergency is subsiding, governments have to chart a new course for public finance. The starting point is a higher level of public debt. However, high debt ratios represent a danger, even when interest rates are low. The key reason is increased uncertainty of growth prospects in a post-Covid-19 economy, coupled with an uncertainty regarding the probability of future large shocks. A prudent policy would therefore be to start reducing debt levels to pre-crisis levels as soon as the economy normalizes, according to the author.

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