Working Paper BETA #2006-25

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Title : Fiscal Policy in a Monetary Union Under Alternative Labour-Market Structures

Author(s) : Moïse Sidiropoulos, Eleftherios Spyromitros

Abstract : This paper examines the welfare and stabilisation implications of alterna- tive fiscal decision rules in a monetary union with a common monetary policy, such as the European Monetary Union (EMU). We develop a two-country model under monetary union in presnece of asymmetries. Fiscal policies are assumed alternatively non-cooperative (decentralised) and cooperative (centralised) and labour markets are characterised by decentralised and centralised wage setting. The central issue of the paper is the design of the appropriate fiscal policy rule by comparing and evaluating the performance of alternative arrangements to distribute the power over fiscal authorities between the centre of the union and the individual members of the union. The main result of this paper reveals that a decentralized fiscal policy rule, where the member states conduct independent fiscal policies, with centralised wage setting in labour markets of monetary union members is the appropriate institutional design. This institutional arrangement would improve the social welfare and stabilize better than others the idiosyncratic shocks hitting the economies of the monetary union members.

Key-words : Policy-mix, EMU, labor market institutions

JEL Classification : E58, E52, E63