Thematic Platform "European Union"

EU governance, budget and tax policy

Intereconomics – Review of European Economic Policy, 2019, 54, (3), pp.171-177,
In the current negotiations about the European Union's next medium-term Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for the period 2021 to 2027, the system of own resources financing EU expenditures plays a relatively important role. Currently, the EU budget primarily rests on contributions from Member States (VAT- and GNI-based own resources), whereas "true" own resources have continuously lost importance. In 2017, VAT-based own resources accounted for 12.2 percent of overall EU revenues and GNI-based own resources for 56.6 percent, while traditional own resources contributed the rather small share of 14.7 percent.
This paper contributes to debates about the appropriate characterisation of heterogeneous investment types and to what extent different investment motives affect the responsiveness to corporate taxation. In particular, we employ and refine a methodology to better evaluate the tax elasticity of investment types. Using a combination of both firm‐specific and sector‐specific information from input-output tables, we discuss how to classify investment as non‐related, horizontal, vertical and complex types. First, we point out to what extent the resulting classification depends on assumptions made by the researcher. Second, we employ an ample set of classifications and find that non‐related investment reacts stronger to corporate taxation, whereas horizontal investment is less responsive, though, significant negative tax semi‐elasticities turn out for the subset of manufacturing industries. To address inherent characteristics of vertical and complex investment, we extend the methodology and find that, by and large, stronger business motives reduce the tax responsiveness of investment to a larger extent. Given the current debates about substantial corporate tax reforms, it is all the more important to recognise that corporate tax effects can vary fundamentally between countries, driven by country‐specific differences in their composition of industries and investment types.

Labour market and social policy

Studies, July 2019, 34 pages
Commissioned by: Vienna Chamber of Labour
Study by: Austrian Institute of Economic Research
Online since: 10.07.2019 0:00
The report is an update of a set of labour market indices first developed and tested in 2010 in collaboration with experts of the Vienna Chamber of Labour (AK). The Austrian labour market is examined relative to the other 27 EU countries (including UK) according to the following key dimensions: overall labour market performance, participation of different groups of people, exclusion risks on the labour market, distribution of earnings and redistribution by the welfare state.
Die Ereignisse seit dem Ausbruch der Großen Rezession haben gezeigt, dass die soziale Dimension der EU eine entscheidende Bedeutung für die Stabilität und politische Legitimation der EU einnimmt. Der vorliegende Beitrag untersucht die Rolle und das Potential der sozialinvestiven Perspektive auf den Wohlfahrtsstaat für die Weiterentwicklung des europäischen Integrationsprojekts. Dazu werden in einem ersten Schritt die Kerngedanken dieses sozialpolitischen Ansatzes erläutert und ihre Bedeutung mit Blick auf die EU und insbesondere auf die Währungsunion beleuchtet. In einem zweiten Schritt wird analysiert, in welcher Form und in welchem Ausmaß der sozialinvestive Ansatz im politischen Prozess der EU verankert ist, wobei der Fokus auf den jüngsten Entwicklungen und Initiativen liegt.

Regional disparities and structural change

Quantitative Wirkungen der EU-Struktur- und Kohäsionspolitik in Österreich. Ein Beitrag zu "25 Jahre Österreich in der EU" (Quantitative Impacts of the ESI Funds and their Predecessors in Austria: A Cross-fund Analysis for the Entire Impact Period)
Studies, June 2020, 161 pages
Commissioned by: Austrian Conference on Statual Planning
Study by: Austrian Institute of Economic Research
Online since: 02.07.2020 0:00
Die Studie bietet erstmals eine integrierte und fondsübergreifende Analyse der quantitativen Effekte der ESI-Fonds und ihrer Vorgänger für den gesamten Zeitraum ihres Wirkens in Österreich (1995/2017). Grundlage ist eine neue, umfassende Datenbank zu den Auszahlungen der EU-Strukturfonds und der damit verbundenen nationalen öffentlichen Kofinanzierung auf räumlicher Ebene, die durch die Zusammenführung der Individualdatenbestände der fondsverantwortlichen bzw. abwickelnden Stellen im Rahmen des Projektes aufgebaut wurde. Auf ihrer Basis untersucht die Studie die regionalen Auszahlungsstrukturen der Fonds und die dadurch ausgelösten Effekte auf die Bundesländer sowie die kleinräumige Ebene (Arbeitsmarktbezirke, Gemeinden), wobei deskriptiv-statistische Methoden, ökonometrische Schätzmethoden sowie Simulationen mit dem multiregionalen Modell des WIFO zum Einsatz kommen. Die Hypothese, wonach die Interventionen der ESI-Fonds positive Entwicklungsimpulse in den geförderten Regionen ausgelöst haben, wird durch die Ergebnisse und die dazu durchgeführten Robustheitstests insgesamt gestützt. Zusammen mit deutlichen Resultaten zur "Treffsicherheit" ihres Mitteleinsatzes zugunsten ländlicher, ökonomisch benachteiligter Regionen spricht dies für einen positiven und relevanten Beitrag der ESIF-Initiativen zum regionalen Ausgleich in Österreich.
This paper analyses the impact of the European Union's Cohesion Policy on firm growth in the programming period 2007-2013 in seven European countries. Results show that Cohesion Policy support promotes firm growth in size (value added and employment) more than in productivity. However, even when the policy is the same and similar projects and beneficiaries are considered, its effectiveness varies across different territorial contexts, among but also within countries. In several cases, the impact of grants on firm growth is larger in regions with lower income or scant endowments of territorial assets, most likely because firms in those regions cannot rely on external assets.

Competitiveness and innovation

WIFO Working Papers, 2020, (602), 30 pages
Online since: 11.06.2020 0:00
We draw on trade theory to empirically explore the effects of value chain integration on producer price dynamics. Using the EU as an example of an integrated area, we construct measures of backward and forward linkages with intra- and extra-EU trading partners at the country-sector level. We find that especially upstream integration and EU-accession dampen inflation. The results for downstream integration indicate a price-increasing relationship. We propose novel EU integration indicators and offer insights to both theory and applied research. We also add to the policy debate on the price effects of (dis-)integration of EU countries.
Yvonne Wolfmayr, Klaus S. Friesenbichler, Harald Oberhofer, Michael Pfaffermayr (WIFO), Iulia Siedschlag, Mattia Di Ubaldo, Manuel Tong Koecklin, Weijie Yan (ESRI)
Study by: Austrian Institute of Economic Research – Economic and Social Research Institute
Commissioned by: European Commission, DG Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
Online since: 24.10.2019 0:00
This report quantifies the gains from European trade integration, but also highlights potentials for further gains by eliminating remaining shortcomings of the Single Market for goods related to incorrect or incomplete transposition, the application of harmonised rules as well as the functioning of the mutual recognition principle. The study confirms that the Single Market has delivered benefits in terms of increased trade, competition, productivity and ultimately welfare. Accession has been a key driver for trade effects in the period considered (1995-2014). The results further indicate that improvements in transposition and enforcement of Single Market rules could be a driver for trade, productivity and welfare gains in the long run. Apart from pro-competitive effects, these gains would also come about through increased specialisation and greater intra-EU production integration. In this respect the study offers evidence of – so far less obvious – additional benefits stemming from improvements of institutional quality. Improvements in regulatory institutional quality have also been a relevant driver of pro-competitive effects on market structure as well as productivity levels in accession countries. Furthermore, differences in the quality of the Single Market legal framework are found to matter for firms' organisational choices for their intra-EU production operations via (intra-firm) vertical integration and cross-border outsourcing, in the context of incomplete contracts.

Climate, energy and environmental policy

WIFO Working Papers, 2021, (619), 51 pages
Online since: 20.01.2021 0:00
In view of the challenges posed by climate change and the increase in climate targets by 2030 in the EU, as well as Austria's goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2040, the question of effective climate policy instruments is gaining in importance. The pricing of CO2, for instance in the form of a carbon tax, and the question of its effects are therefore attracting increasing attention in the academic as well as economic and environmental policy debate. The paper provides a detailed overview of the theoretical and empirical literature on the effects of carbon taxes. The focus is on the most important impact dimensions of carbon taxes: environmental effectiveness, effects on important macroeconomic variables (especially growth and employment), effects on innovation and competitiveness, distributional effects, and public acceptance.
Two major international frameworks provide landmarks for future development paths: the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Climate Agreement. Monitoring the progress towards achieving the individual goals must take into account a multitude of synergies and trade-offs. In this paper we use composite indices to analyse climate and energy policies in selected EU member countries. These results show that, in general, the improvements regarding energy efficiency, emissions and deployment of renewables have been moderate in the period under observation (2005–2015). This hints at the time needed for restructuring to take place, which underlines the importance of credible political commitments to climate targets, the implementation of ambitious instruments and the need for stability in the guiding frameworks to effectuate substantial changes. In addition, the analysis of the selected countries shows that they are characterised by very specific energy systems (complemented by specific social structures), and this determines the challenges that each country must overcome on the way to decarbonisation and sustainable development. While the SDGs are to be implemented on a global scale, it is necessary to adapt them to the characteristics of a given country or region. Reliable and long-term quantitative data that is comparable across countries or regions and that takes into account the social dimension is required to be able to monitor the overall progress of SGD implementation.

Impact evaluation

Studies, September 2017, 59 pages
Commissioned by: European Parliament
Study by: Austrian Institute of Economic Research – Kiel Institute for the World Economy
Online since: 10.10.2017 0:00
This report summarises empirical facts about the economic impact of the EU sanctions against Russia and the Russian countersanctions, both implemented in the summer of 2014. The observed decline in trade volumes between the EU and Russia is not only due to the sanctions, but also by other economic factors, such as the downturn of the Russian economy, largely caused by the falling oil price and the ensuing ruble depreciation. Furthermore, empirical evidence suggests that European and Russian companies alike managed to partly divert trade flows to other international markets in response to the deteriorating trade relationships. Overall trade diversion, however, cannot nearly compensate for losses of EU exports to Russia and thus mitigate the economy-wide negative impacts. Finally, descriptive evidence and additional information seem to indicate that compliance with the sanctions was partly circumvented right after the implementation of the sanctions in 2014, in particular for agri-food goods via countries of the Eurasian Economic Union. Legal trade diversion through countries unaffected by the sanctions has also taken place. It is important to emphasise that this study does not assess the political costs or effectiveness of the sanctions, but merely analyses potential economic costs caused by all sanction measures in place.
This paper proposes a new panel data structural gravity approach for estimating the trade and welfare effects of Brexit. The suggested Constrained Poisson Pseudo Maximum Likelihood Estimator exhibits some useful properties for trade policy analysis and allows to obtain estimates and confidence intervals which are consistent with structural trade theory. Assuming different counterfactual post-Brexit scenarios, our main findings suggest that UK's exports of goods to the EU are likely to decline within a range between 7.2 percent and 45.7 percent (EU's exports to UK by 5.9 percent to 38.2 percent) six years after the Brexit has taken place. For the UK, the negative trade effects are only partially offset by an increase in domestic goods trade and trade with third countries, inducing a decline in UK's real income between 1.4 percent and 5.7 percent under the hard Brexit scenario. The estimated welfare effects for the EU are negligible in magnitude and statistically not different from zero.