Working Paper No. 620
By Rana Sajedi
Given the weak economic performance of many countries since the recent crisis, there is an increasing need for structural reforms aimed at promoting long-run economic growth. Structural reforms can entail short-run output costs unless offset by a demand expansion. When monetary policy is constrained and cannot carry out this short-run expansion, there is a potential role for fiscal policy. In this case, reforms can go against fiscal consolidation in the short run, although they are expected to improve public finances in the long run. The aim of this paper is to quantify the short-run fiscal costs and long-run fiscal benefits of reforms, and investigate how the design of reforms can affect this trade-off. The focus is on the euro area, which has been particularly affected by high unemployment. In the model, both the costs and benefits of reforms are generally small, although increasingly large reforms entail larger rises in deficit-to-GDP in the short run. Results suggest that reforms in labour markets have little effect on public finances in the long run, but their short-run costs can be ameliorated by combining them with product market reforms.