Despite assurances that the ECB will do “whatever it takes” to save the euro, interest rates on sovereign bonds in the highly indebted European countries remain alarmingly high. This column argues that in order for interest rates to fall, policymakers need to assure private investors that their bond holdings are safe from subordination.
Frank Westermann, Sven Steinkamp, Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Anders Åslund, Tuesday, August 21, 2012
It has become increasingly fashionable to talk about Europe without the euro. But this column points out that in the last century Europe has seen the collapse of three multi-nation currency zones: the Habsburg Empire, the Soviet Union, and Yugoslavia – and they all ended with disastrous hyperinflation. The lesson for the Eurozone is clear: avoid break up at almost any cost.
Piero Ghezzi, Sunday, August 19, 2012
The ECB president, Mario Draghi, said he’d do “whatever it takes to save the euro”. This column asks what 'whatever it takes', means and whether the ECB is prepared to go that far. It argues that limited and conditional lending improves the odds of success but it is not the game changer needed.
Stijn Claessens, Ashoka Mody, Shahin Vallee, Friday, August 17, 2012
The Eurozone debate is awash with proposals for mutualising national debt. This column summarises and evaluates the main proposals – suggesting how they might be combined in a five-year path to a fiscal union. It stresses that short-term stability objectives will only work if they help to advance the agenda for fiscal federalism including macroeconomic stabilisation and risk-sharing.
Jaime Luque, Abderrahim Taamouti, Thursday, August 16, 2012
When economies are on the down, uncertainty is on the up – particularly during a crisis. But this column argues that the euro itself may have been a cause of uncertainty in the first place, long before the crisis.
Ziad Daoud, Martin Brookes, Thursday, August 16, 2012
Two-year bond yields in six European countries recently turned negative. What explains the shift? This column presents a model suggesting that a higher chance of extreme economic events – such as a break up of the euro – can be the cause of a number of abnormal patterns in the bond markets.
Charles Wyplosz, Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Some maintain that Italy and Spain risk losing market access for their sovereign bonds despite drops in yields. A recent Vox column by Francesco Giavazzi suggested that Italy could and should avoid a bailout. This column argues that in spite of all its admirable human and economic assets, Italy has moved to a bad equilibrium from which it is most unlikely to escape.
Stefan Bach, Gert Wagner, Wednesday, August 15, 2012
The European debt crisis drags on, dragging Europe down with it. This column argues that one-off capital levies – taxes on the rich – is one way of financing debt reduction. This could be an important step towards deleveraging public budgets without severely damaging the economy.
Marco Annunziata, Tuesday, August 14, 2012
While markets have been cheered by recent ECB announcements on sovereign debt, some still question the Bank’s ability to save the euro. This column argues that the ECB is a lot stronger than many think. Linking ECB sovereign bond purchases to policy conditionality will ensure that reform efforts are sustained. The free lunch option has been ruled out – and that is a good thing.
Francesco Giavazzi, Monday, August 13, 2012
Spain looks set to turn to the EFSF for a formal bailout subject to stringent conditionality. In this column, Francesco Giavazzi – one of Europe’s leading macroeconomists and an advisor to the Monti government – argues that Italy’s situation is nothing like Spain’s. To avoid submitting itself to its EFSF conditionality, Italy should reduce its borrowing needs with a determined programme of public asset sales and bridge financing from the Cassa Depositi e Prestiti.
Uri Dadush, Zaahira Wyne, Shimelse Ali, Tuesday, July 24, 2012
The US and the Eurozone are slowly recovering after the bursting of their huge housing bubbles. Yet the hardest-hit states in the US have adjusted more rapidly than the most troubled European economies. This column examines differences between the US and Eurozone monetary unions that can help explain why.
Tito Boeri, Friday, July 20, 2012
Solving the EZ crisis will almost certainly involve some financial transfers in exchange for some loss of sovereignty. This column suggests a guiding principle for which policies should be under EZ control. Transfers of authority to supranational bodies must make a no-further-bailout clause credible.
Guillaume Gaulier, Daria Taglioni, Vincent Vicard, Thursday, July 19, 2012
Some view uncompetitiveness in the Eurozone’s periphery as the fundamental cause of the region’s crisis. This column presents evidence that rising unit labour costs in the periphery were not a cause but rather a symptom of the local demand shocks triggered by large capital inflows in the 2000s.
Paul De Grauwe, Friday, July 13, 2012
Paul De Grauwe of the LSE talks to Viv Davies about his recent Vox column on the potentially destabilising effects of the decisions taken at the last crisis summit of Eurozone leaders. He explains how the new recapitalisation role established for the ESM is doomed to fail and how the ECB is operating on the wrong business model. They discuss how full banking union will not be possible without a degree of political union, and how trust could create self-fulfilling positive outcomes for the Eurozone. The interview was recorded in London on 10 July 2012.
Natasha Xingyuan Che, Antonio Spilimbergo, Wednesday, July 11, 2012
A major cause of the Eurozone crisis is the difference in income and productivity between the core and the periphery. This column presents evidence suggesting that structural reforms can be instrumental in fostering the development of lagging regions within a country. It argues that this in turn can accelerate the rate of convergence across countries within a currency union.
Urs Birchler, Monika Bütler, Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Plans for an EZ banking union have been subjected to ‘dueling open letters’ by German-speaking economists. This column, by two Swiss-based economists, views the letters as closer than one thinks. The difference rests, not on economics, but on a judgement – will the the EU Summit’s promises be fulfilled, or is this one more instance of ever-larger dollops of euros and ever-emptier buzzwords?
Michael Burda, Hans Peter Grüner, Frank Heinemann, Martin Hellwig, Mathias Hoffmann, Gerhard Illing, Hans‐Helmut Kotz, Tom Krebs, Jan Pieter Krahnen, Gernot Müller, Isabel Schnabel, Andreas Schabert, Moritz Schularick, Dennis J Snower, Uwe Sunde, Beatrice Weder di Mauro, Monday, July 9, 2012
The EU Summit decision on banking union is being questioned by some economists in Germany. This column argues that a banking union is a critical step in ending the EZ crisis and building a more stable EZ financial architecture. It is a translation by Michael Burda of the German-language manifesto drafted by the First Signatories listed below and signed by over 100 economists.
Daniel Gros, Saturday, July 7, 2012
The EZ crisis – born as a debt crisis (Greece) – has grown up into a banking crisis (Ireland, Cyprus, Spain, …). This column argues that Spain is symptomatic of larger banking problems, so the EU Summit decisions on banking union are welcome and critical to any long-term solution. Yet someone must pay for Spanish bank losses. Spanish politics is shielding Spanish creditors, European politics is shielding EZ taxpayers, so the Spanish government will pay – and in doing so may go the way of Ireland. This crisis is far from over.
Luc Laeven, Fabian Valencia, Monday, July 9, 2012
Do advanced economies have an edge in resolving financial crises? This column shows that the record thus far supports the opposite view, with the average crisis lasting about twice as long as in developing and emerging market economies. It argues that macroeconomic stabilisation policies in advanced countries often delay the necessary financial restructuring.
Nicolas Véron, Friday, July 6, 2012
For many, Europe’s latest summit on 29 June effectively promised a banking union. This column praises the move but argues that this remains just a bare bones promise and the details are yet to be fleshed out. In the short term it calls for a temporary task force, akin to that used by the US for its auto industry in 2009, to help Europe’s failing banks.