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Philip Muggenthaler

23 September 2020
ECONOMIC BULLETIN - ARTICLE
Economic Bulletin Issue 6, 2020
Details
Abstract
Fiscal policy is playing a key role in stemming the economic fallout from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In addition to the discretionary fiscal policy measures employed by governments, automatic fiscal stabilisers play an important role in cushioning the economic downturn. This article shows that automatic fiscal stabilisers are generally sizeable in the euro area, but vary significantly across Member States. However, their effectiveness may be more limited at the current juncture, given the nature of the COVID-19 crisis and the high uncertainty surrounding its effects. This provides a rationale for a stronger role of discretionary fiscal policy at national and European level. Over the medium term, fiscal policies could increasingly make use of quasi-automatic fiscal instruments that provide additional timely, targeted and temporary macroeconomic stabilisation for the euro area. Careful consideration should be given to the design of such instruments over the business cycle, their economic efficiency, and to the need for building fiscal buffers in good times.
JEL Code
H12 : Public Economics→Structure and Scope of Government→Crisis Management
H20 : Public Economics→Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue→General
E63 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook→Comparative or Joint Analysis of Fiscal and Monetary Policy, Stabilization, Treasury Policy