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Expansionary Fiscal Consolidations . Budapest and New York: Central University Press. Benczes I. Trimming the Sails: The Comparative Political Economy of

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public finance decisions was especially active after the 2008 global and the subsequent European financial and economic crises, when several countries implemented fiscal consolidation strategies. This literature is frequently referred to as the ‘fiscal

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The European Union does not have a comprehensive common tax policy and substantial changes in this specialized policy area are not likely in the foreseeable future. Albeit common rules, requirements, minimum rates for certain tax types were implemented in the last few decades, they barely limit the Member States in using their tax policies as one of the worthiest elements of their arsenal in increasing competitiveness or quite the contrary, to undermining their own international competitiveness inadvertently through a misguided tax policy. In this article, we put the tax policies of the Visegrad Group and the Eurozone core countries (Germany, Austria and the Netherlands), as well as changes in these policies under the magnifying glass, in terms of the impact of tax structure changes on economic growth and employment in the last decade.

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While in the decade prior to 2010 Hungarian local governments had been a notorious contributor to budgetary slippages and growing public indebtedness, the sector’s balance has subsequently turned to positive in the context of a wide-ranging centralisation effort and the corresponding revamp in subnational financing arrangements. The fiscal indicators therefore, prima facie, point to a transformation of a regular sinner into a source of stability. Based on a detailed account of the recent reform steps and the preliminary assessment of their first impacts, this study argues that it is too early to conclude that the observed positive developments are the structural results of the measures taken over the last five years. The enacted institutional streamlining, the new debt authorisation rule and the increased tapping of the local tax potential should all have a lasting positive impact on public finances. Nonetheless, the intended efficiency gains due to economies of scale in service provision are not yet apparent, insofar as no reduction has been achieved in the headcount of the concerned branches. Moreover, the observed non-differentiation in the debt assumption may raise the spectre of moral hazard for the municipalities in the longer run.

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The crisis of 2008–2009 has ended, stockmarkets skyrocketed in 2012–2013, while growth of the real sector remained sluggish in Europe. This article attempts to explain the latter puzzle. Analyzing long term factors, the costs of short-termism in crisis management become obvious. The limitations of EU as a growth engine are highlighted.

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Seldom does public attention follow taxation as it does now. As a result of the global economic crisis, due to the fiscal consolidations, taxation plays an increasingly important role within financial policy. The emergence and the extensive spread of taxes on the financial sector is one of the consequences of the global economic crisis. This paper deals with some theoretical connections of this change in taxation.

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It is argued that European integration has not fulfilled its chief economic promises. Output growth has been increasingly weak and unstable. Productivity growth has been following a decreasing trend. Income inequalities, both within and between the EU member states, have been rising. This sorry state of affairs is likely to continue — and likely to precipitate further exits, or eventually, the dissolution of the Union. However, this outcome is not unavoidable. A better integration in the EU is possible, at least in theory. Also, the negative consequences implicit in the existence of the common currency could be neutralised. However, the basic paradigms of the economic policies to be followed in the EU would have to be radically changed. First, the unconditional fiscal consolidation provisions still in force would have to be repelled. Second, “beggar-thy-neighbour” (or mercantilist) wage policies would have to be “outlawed”.

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This paper wishes to identify optimal ways for fiscal consolidation in eastern EU member states. Dedicated efforts to have balanced budgets seem to be the rule rather than the exception across the enlarged European Union. Fiscal stability, more than any other factors, provide favourable macro-environments to increase the competitiveness of the member states and of the single market. These efforts, of course, are being constantly pressed - true, with varying degree - by the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) that obliges member states to have stable macro-economic environments with deficit caps, or preferably, with balanced budgets. It is argued that optimal ways for budget consolidation must be centred around deep structural reforms of national budgets that are prerequisites for efficient public finance mechanisms.

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Alesina, A. — Favero, C. — Giavazzi, F. (2012): The Output Effect of Fiscal Consolidations. NBER Working Papers , 18336. Giavazzi F

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Studies , 57 ( 2 ): 243 – 275 . Tanzi , V. ( 2015 b): Crises, Initial Conditions and Economic Policies . In: Structural Reforms and Fiscal Consolidation: Trade Offs or

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