Tax policies may exist for the simple purpose of funding government activities, but the policies themselves are anything but simple. In the aftermath of the last financial crisis, the European Commission saw the need to examine the potential effects of globalisation on national tax systems. This led to a consortium consisting of 11 partners organised in a cross-disciplinary, EU-funded project entitled, 'Revisioning the 'Fiscal EU': Fair, Sustainable and Coordinated Tax and Social Policies', known by its acronym, 'FairTax'. The FairTax project addresses the impact of EU national tax systems on widening socio-economic and gender inequalities as well as fiscal sustainability and tax fairness issues. The project intends to help improve economic stability while promoting economic, social and environmental sustainability.
This issue’s Forum presents the FairTax research and policy recommendations based on structural problems that have been defined as tax sustainability gaps. With an eye on these gaps, Ann Mumford and Åsa Gunnarsson look at sustainability in EU tax law. The issue of gender equality and the impact of gender-differentiated changes in personal income are presented and examined using case studies and comparisons of various national tax systems. Marion Fink, Jitka Janová, Danuše Nerudová, Jan Pavel, Margit Schratzenstaller, Friedrich Sindermann-Sinkiewicz and Martin Spielauer find that the effects of tax policies vary depending on the household compositions and conclude that gender-differentiated effects need greater attention in policymaking.
Faced with growing ageing populations, all Western nations are confronted with pressing societal challenges. Speaking directly with Irish citizens, Emer Mulligan examines the pension system in Ireland in order to determine the best policy options for governments, including tax relief as a financial incentive for increasing private pension coverage and as a tool to promote intergenerational fairness, equality and social inclusion. Reviewing case studies from a number of Northern European countries over the course of several years, Lotta Björklund Larsen and Lynne Oats share their findings on cooperative compliance in the taxation of large businesses - whose size and complex operations and structure differentiate them from other taxpayers. Cooperative compliance represents a shift from a deterrence approach where taxpayers are coerced to comply with audits and penalties toward a more responsive and collaborative approach. These ideas and more are elaborated in our special FairTax Forum.
We open this issue of Intereconomics with an editorial from our new Editor-in-Chief, Christian Breuer. Taking the reigns from Brigitte Preissl, Breuer now leads Intereconomics, as well as our sister publication, Wirtschaftsdienst, as we continue to examine the most pressing issues in European economic policy. The question of whether to proceed with the European project and complete the monetary union or live with the fragile and incomplete currency union and eventually go back to ostensible national sovereignty is the crossroads Europe faces in the 2020s, Breuer writes. With voter turnout for the recent European elections topping 50% for the first time in over two decades and a record number of youth voters casting their ballots, we will continue to observe this crucial moment in the EU’s history, its influential voices and the path it ultimately decides to take.
The continuing trade war between the United States and China has held the world captive with its spontaneous developments, provocative tweets and market uncertainty. But what does it mean for Europe? While Europe has had its own difficulties with the US including the current administration's definition of 'national security threats', this is not the main issue, insists Michael J. Plummer. "The bigger longer-term problem relates to the health and integrity of the global system," says Plummer. He recommends that Europe continue to work with its numerous other partners to form agreements such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement on Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Europe may even stand to gain from trade diversion benefits, Plummer notes.
Gender equality is one of the fundamental values and objectives of the European Union. Although most tax laws apply equally to men and women, tax systems and fiscal policy decisions affect men and women differently. The persisting gender differences in employment rates and patterns as well as gender gaps in unpaid care work, employment rates, income, old age security, poverty and wealth are all closely linked to the allocative and distributional outcome of tax regulations. Åsa Gunnarsson and Ulrike Spangenberg take an in-depth look at the underlying socio-economic differences between men and women and the gender-differentiated outcomes of the tax system.
Forum: Data-Driven Economy: Challenges and Opportunities
with articles from participants in our conference on the Data-Driven Economy, co-hosted by the German Economic Institute (IW) including Justus Haucap, Markus Spiekermann, Bruno Carballa-Smichowksi, Barbara Engles, Maximilian von Grafenstein. Please join us in Berlin on 17 June!
by Barry Eichengreen
by David Cronin and Peter Dunne
from Åsa Gunnarsson and Ulrike Spangenberg's Forum article Gender Equality and Taxation Policies in the EU
About Intereconomics – Review of European Economic Policy
Intereconomics is jointly produced by ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics and the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS). The journal appears bimonthly and features papers by economists that deal with economic and social policy issues and trends in Europe or affecting Europe. To submit a paper for publication, please visit the Submissions section of our website for relevant information.
Intereconomics is published by Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.
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