A recent ECB household-wealth survey was interpreted by the media as evidence that poor Germans shouldn’t have to pay for southern Europe. This column takes a look at the numbers. Whilst it’s true that median German households are poor compared to their southern European counterparts, Germany itself is wealthy. Importantly, this wealth is very unequally distributed, but the issue of unequal distribution doesn’t feature much in the press. The debate in Germany creates an inaccurate perception among less wealthy Germans that transfers are unfair.
Paul De Grauwe, Yuemei Ji, 16 April 2013
Stefano Micossi, 15 April 2013
CEPR Policy Insight no. 65 analyses the changes and shifts of power among the EU’s institutions, arguing that further reforms are needed in order to safely and accountably underpin new executive power.
Michiel Bijlsma, Andrei Dubovik, Bas Straathof, 15 April 2013
The Global Crisis hit firms hard, making the terms of getting credit worse and thus amplifying the recession. This column discusses new research that isolates the ‘credit crunch’ element from other outcomes of recession. Crisis-linked credit drops caused a 5.5 percentage-point reduction in industrial growth in 2008, with a stronger effect in countries with more highly leveraged banks. The evidence clearly suggests that more attention should be paid to credit supplies to firms at the onset of financial crises.
Stefano Micossi, 15 April 2013
The Eurozone crisis has produced rapid institutional change with executive powers over national economic policies shifting to the EU. This column introduces a new CEPR Policy Insight that analyses the changes and shifts of power among the EU’s institutions. What is clear is that further reforms are needed in order to safely and accountably underpin new executive power.
Nadege Jassaud, Heiko Hesse, 13 April 2013
The recent IMF assessment of Europe’s financial sector found that much has been achieved to address the recent financial crisis in Europe, but vulnerabilities remain, and intensified efforts are needed across a wide front, one of which being bank balance sheet repair. This column looks at progress with bank restructuring in Europe.
Biagio Bossone, 08 April 2013
The crisis in peripheral Europe is deepening and spreading to the core of Europe. This column argues that it’s time for the Eurozone to shift gear. Eurozone members should use the Emergency Liquidity Assistance facility provided for under the statute of the European System of Central Banks to undertake ‘overt money financing’ of government debt. Greater cooperation – for a time – between central banks and fiscal authorities is, despite arguments to the contrary, in no way inconsistent with the independence of the central banks.
Javier Andrés, Rafael Doménech, 05 April 2013
Fiscal adjustment and structural reform are key parts of Eurozone bailout packages (or key features of government policy that aims to avoid such bailouts). This column argues that patience is the most prized virtue of policymakers implementing fiscal adjustment and structural reform. Reducing unemployment and fiscal consolidation are mutually reinforcing, but they move at different speeds.
Giovanni Dell'Ariccia, Rishi Goyal, Petya Koeva-Brooks, Thierry Tressel, 05 April 2013
The crisis has highlighted the need for, and difficulties with, a Eurozone banking union. This column argues that, to make a union, you need three crucial ingredients: common supervision, a single resolution mechanism, and common safety nets. The power to control and the resources to rescue must work in parallel. Eurozone leaders have taken the first critical steps, but further progress is needed to strengthen the financial architecture of the single currency.
Lucrezia Reichlin, Domenico Giannone, Jasper McMahon, Saverio Simonelli, 29 March 2013
The Eurozone and US business cycles seems to have decoupled, but is Germany on the US or Eurozone side of the divide? This column presents recent results from the Now-Casting model on whether this US-Eurozone decoupling also applies to Germany. If this is right, the German stock market – which seems to predict Germany’s convergence to the US path – is due for a correction.
Jon Danielsson, 28 March 2013
Cyprus has imposed temporary capital controls. This column sheds light on how temporary and how damaging they are likely to be, based on Iceland’s experience. The longer controls exist, the harder they are to abolish. Icelandic capital controls, which have been ‘temporary’ for half a decade, deeply damage the economy by discouraging investment. We can only hope the authorities that created the chaos in the first place realise that temporary really needs to mean temporary.
Fernando A Broner, Tatiana Didier, Aitor Erce, Sergio Schmukler, 28 March 2013
How much do we really know about net capital flows? Presenting new research, this column lays out a number of new stylised facts on the dynamics of gross capital flows and their implications for policymaking. Interestingly, if we’re to learn from relatively crisis-resilient middle-income countries, policymakers may well need to monitor and perhaps regulate the separate behaviour of domestic and foreign investors to weather future crises.
Ariel Binder, Paolo Mauro, Rafael Romeu, Asad Zaman, 27 March 2013
How confident are we that major developed countries remain fiscally prudent? Having developed a new dataset, this column gauges the degree of fiscal prudence or profligacy for major economies over the past several decades. From the evidence, it’s clear that the global financial crisis has posed the biggest policy challenge in living memory, with varying responses. How these responses turn out very much depends on whether the slowdown in growth is long-lasting or not.
Nicolas Véron, 25 March 2013
The Monday morning Eurozone Cyprus bailout is now public, although details are scant. This column argues that this package cancels out some of the mistakes in last week’s package. Last week, the Troika should have vetoed the small-deposit tax and prepared a plan B for the Cypriot parliament’s rejection. Avoiding the risky scenario of a Cyprus exit will require further fiscal commitments from Eurozone partners. One possibility is a temporary, but EZ-wide, 'deposit reinsurance', or backing of national deposit-guarantee schemes by the ESM.
Laurence Boone, Céline Renucci, Ruben Segura-Cayuela, 25 March 2013
What happens after the crisis ends? This column estimates the long-term effects of the current cyclical downturn on Eurozone economies. In the absence of any real impetus for bold reform, estimates show that the damage will indeed be long lasting, permanently impairing growth for an ageing population that requires higher growth capacity more than ever before.
Marco Annunziata, 20 March 2013
The Cyprus rescue package has elicited sharp reactions. This column argues that a tax on deposits is logical given the limited options, but guaranteed deposits should be spared on fairness and systematic grounds; a 15% tax on big deposits would be enough. Contagion is unlikely since Cyprus is different. Italian and Spanish savers are already alert to surprises such as the 1992 Italian bank deposit tax.
Mitu Gulati, Lee C. Buchheit , 20 March 2013
Eurozone leaders’ radical step of putting insured depositors in Cypriot banks in harm’s way was not their only option. This column argues that none of the alternatives were pleasant but some were less ominous.
Maurizio Bovi, 20 March 2013
How do everyday Italians feel about their economic prospects? How are political reactions related to economic events? This column presents evidence suggesting that Italians are becoming disillusioned. Comparing Berlusconi's and Monti’s resignation, sentiment was more positive after Belusconi's. Rather than a test on Italian citizens’ realism or on their views on austerity, recent political elections should instead be read as a test of voters’ utter disaffection with political institutions.
Paolo Manasse, Giulio Trigilia, Luca Zavalloni, 19 March 2013
Who saved Italy? This column argues that the crisis began with Silvio Berlusconi and ended with Mario Monti. Evidence suggests that restoring a sense of credibility to Italian policymaking was difficult to earn but may be very easy to lose (as the recent run on Italian debt suggests). New and old Italian politicians cannot afford to underestimate the formidable challenge ahead: getting Italy out of this depression without jeopardising its credibility.
Geoffrey R D Underhill, Jasper Blom, 19 March 2013
David Cameron’s promise of a referendum on British participation in the EU has re-ignited the debate about the EU’s democratic legitimacy, just as the struggle to overcome the crisis continues. This column argues that in order to both successfully resolve the crisis and maintain states’ ability to sustain liberal finance, a substantial shift in policy is required. Enhancing the democratic legitimacy of crisis resolution measures and wider financial reforms is essential. Without diffuse support for reforms, crisis resolution is likely to collapse under centrifugal populist pressures.
Charles Wyplosz, 18 March 2013
The Cyprus bailout package contains a tax on bank deposits. This column argues that the tax is a deeply dangerous policy that creates a new situation, more perilous than ever. It is a radical change that potentially undermines a perfectly reasonable deposit guarantee and the euro itself. Historians will one day explore the dark political motives behind this move. Meanwhile, we can only hope that the bad equilibrium that has just been created will not be chosen by anguished depositors in Spain and Italy.