Faculty of Economics and Business Administration Publications Database

Toward a Mutualization of European Unemployment Insurance? On Limiting the Downsides of a Fiscal Transfer System for the Eurozone

Volume: 62
Number: 2
Pages: 376 - 395
Month: June
ISSN-Print: 1610-241X
Link External Source: Online Version
Year: 2016
Keywords: EMU; Eurozone; European unemployment insurance; fiscal transfers

There is a large, yet growing debate about the need to complement the European monetary union with a stronger fiscal union. This article reviews the potential tradeoffs between effectiveness, moral hazard problems, and permanent redistribution. Addressing the counter-arguments against a tighter fiscal union is essential to overcome the political reluctance in some member states that are concerned about large amounts of redistribution. We discuss clawback mechanisms that have been suggested in the literature as a measure to limit redistribution, but conclude that clawbacks are undesirable, as they would essentially destroy the insurance value of a fiscal union. Instead, we propose that a clearly defined exit option as a guarantee against involuntary redistribution can make entry into a stronger fiscal union less risky and hence more attractive for member states.