Europe's nations and regions

Sara Calligaris, Massimo Del Gatto, Fadi Hassan, Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano, Fabiano Schivardi, 28 June 2016

Many advanced economies have experienced a productivity slowdown in recent years. Italy, however, has been experiencing such a slowdown since the mid-1990s. This column provides a detailed analysis of Italy’s patterns of misallocation over this period. Firms in the Northern regions, as well as large firms, have experienced the sharpest increase in resource misallocation. To tackle the resulting productivity slowdown, reforms need to address unemployment benefits and higher education, as well as encouraging investment in intangible assets. 

Jon Danielsson, Robert Macrae, Jean-Pierre Zigrand, 24 June 2016

Brexit creates new opportunities and new risks for the British and EU financial markets. Both could benefit, but a more likely outcome is a fall in the quality of financial regulations, more inefficiency, more protectionism, and more systemic risk.

László Kóczy, 20 June 2016

Much of the discussion about Brexit has focused on the UK and has ignored the another party – the European Union. This column examines how the UK leaving the EU would affect the distribution of power among the remaining member states. The larger members such as France and Germany would likely benefit directly from Brexit, at least in terms of power.

Wouter den Haan, Martin Ellison, Ethan Ilzetzki, Michael McMahon, Ricardo Reis, 20 June 2016

This week’s UK referendum on EU membership is likely to have both short- and long-term effects on the country’s financial sector. This column, which reports the views of panel members in the monthly Centre for Macroeconomics survey, finds that almost all think that a vote for Brexit would lead to a significant disruption to financial markets and asset prices for several months, putting the Bank of England on high alert. On top of the risk of a financial crisis in the near future, an unusually strong majority agrees that there would be substantial negative long-term consequences. No panel member expects the overall consequences of a Brexit outcome to be beneficial for the UK economy – the first time since this survey began that one side of the argument is supported by none of the respondents.

Giancarlo Corsetti, Gernot Müller, 18 June 2016

For decades, the UK government has been very careful in ensuring a low-risk status for its public and private debt. This column warns that if the UK opts to leave the EU, uncertainty over the implications of Brexit would put this low-risk status in jeopardy. A depreciation of the pound could well generate an export boom, but this would not compensate for the damage to internal demand and to the UK’s ability to access external financing of its deficits.

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