Panic-driven austerity in the Eurozone and its implications
Paul De Grauwe, Yuemei Ji 21 February 2013
Eurozone policy seems driven by market sentiment. This column argues that fear and panic led to excessive, and possibly self-defeating, austerity in the south while failing to induce offsetting stimulus in the north. The resulting deflation bias produced the double-dip recession and perhaps more dire consequences. As it becomes obvious that austerity produces unnecessary suffering, millions may seek liberation from ‘euro shackles’.
Southern Eurozone countries have been forced to introduce severe austerity programs since 2011. Where did the forces that led these countries into austerity come from? Are these forces the result of deteriorating economic fundamentals that made austerity inevitable? Or could it be that the austerity dynamics were forced by fear and panic that erupted in the financial markets and then gripped policymakers. Furthermore, what are the implications of these severe austerity programs for the countries involved?
Financial markets Macroeconomic policy
eurozone, financial panic, austerity
Why should we believe the market this time?
Paul De Grauwe 07 February 2009
Spreads of sovereign debt within the eurozone have increased dramatically during the last few months, largely as a result of panic in the financial markets. When it engages in quantitative easing, the ECB should privilege the buying of Irish, Greek, Spanish and Italian government bonds to eliminate the distortions and the externalities that these spreads create.
Spreads of sovereign debt within the eurozone have increased dramatically during the last few months. Figure 1 shows the evidence. The governments of Greece and Ireland now pay an interest rate on their debt that exceeds the German government bond rate by more than 200 basis points, while the governments of Spain, Portugal and Italy have to pay more than 100 basis points extra.
International finance Macroeconomic policy
eurozone, sovereign debt, spreads, government bonds, flight to safety, financial panic