Economia Politica

, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 111–138 | Cite as

Redistribution and stabilisation through the EU budget

  • Paolo PasimeniEmail author
  • Stéphanie Riso
Original Paper


This paper measures the capacity of the EU budget to operate two traditional functions of public finances: redistribution and stabilisation. It uses a large dataset covering all actual revenues and expenditures of the budget, over 16 years (from 2000 to 2015) in each Member State of the EU. It finds that, for every € 1000 difference in income per capita across the EU, € 9 is offset by lower contributions to the budget and € 3 is offset by higher expenditures by the budget; the overall equalising effect is small and mainly generated by the revenue side, in particular by the national contribution based on GNI and VAT. The budget is not particularly responsive to changing economic conditions: a fall in income per capita of € 1000 determines a reduction of € 8 in the per capita contribution paid to the common budget, while the expenditure side is irresponsive. The analysis also shows that the various corrections mechanisms applied over time to the revenue side of the budget have reduced its redistributive and stabilisation capacity.


European Union Budget Redistribution Stabilisation 

JEL Classification

E61 E62 H11 H61 H77 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.European Commission, Directorate General for Economic and Financial AffairsBrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.European CommissionBrusselsBelgium

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