Politics and economics

Reform and be re-elected

Marco Buti, Alessandro Turrini, Paul van den Noord, 4 July 2014

Structural reforms are presumed to deteriorate a government’s chance for re-election. This column, which is an update from earlier work, provides evidence of just the opposite – the odds of re-election are larger for reformist than for non-reformist governments. This holds if the financial system is not overly regulated and an adequate social safety net is present.

Football in the time of protest

Nauro F Campos, 13 June 2014

The 2014 FIFA World Cup is upon us. This column argues that there will be plenty of partying, but also plenty of protests fuelled by the gross mismanagement and limited economic benefits from hosting the Cup. Stadia may be ready, but much planned infrastructure has already been abandoned. Indeed, rent-seeking may be one reason nations bid for the Cup. Since the returns to transportation infrastructure are higher in poor countries, the international community should work to stamp out corruption so that poor countries can continue to host mega-events like the World Cup.

Scottish independence: A survey of UK-based macroeconomists

Angus Armstrong, Francesco Caselli, Jagjit Chadha, Wouter den Haan, 7 June 2014

Would Scotland be better off in economic terms as an independent country? Not according to an overwhelming majority of respondents to the third monthly survey of the Centre for Macroeconomics (CFM), summarised in this column. As the Scottish electorate prepares to vote on independence in September, a smaller majority of the CFM experts agree that the UK would be acting in its own economic interests by ruling out a monetary union with an independent Scotland.

Public opinion, immigration, and the recession

Timothy J Hatton, 7 June 2014

In the recent European Parliament elections, right-wing populist parties made significant gains. Commentators have linked the rise of these parties to growing anti-immigration sentiment in the wake of the crisis. This column examines the extent to which public opinion has in fact shifted against immigration. Survey data shows that there was no Europe-wide surge in anti-immigration opinion between 2006 and 2010, although there was a marked change in Spain, Greece, and Ireland. This suggests that populist parties’ success cannot be attributed to anti-immigration sentiment alone.

The German surplus and the Eurosceptics

Francesco Daveri, 28 May 2014

Eurosceptic parties have been popular in the recent European elections, many complaining that the euro has only served Germany's interests. This column points out that although data on aggregate trade flows show that Germany's trade surplus with the rest of the Eurozone is not excessive, the success of a Eurosceptic party is larger in countries where the bilateral trade deficit with Germany has increased in recent years. A gradual rebalancing of Germany's external accounts of Germany would bring with it not only a greater economic stability in the Eurozone but also greater political stability.

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