There has been a stark contrast between the experiences of Spain and the UK since the Global Crisis. This column argues that although the ECB’s Outright Monetary Transactions policy has been instrumental in reducing Spanish government bond yields, it has not made the Spanish fiscal position sustainable. Although the UK has implemented less austerity than Spain since the start of the crisis, a large currency depreciation has helped to reduce its debt-to-GDP ratio
Paul De Grauwe, Monday, July 7, 2014
Samuel Bentolila, Marcel Jansen, Saturday, February 1, 2014
The evidence about the effect of declined lending during the Great Recession on the employment is quite limited. This column presents new research on the problem focusing on the case of Spain. A large part of credit to non-financial firms before the crisis came from weak banks, which solvency was strongly eroded during the crisis. As a result, firms that relied heavily on loans from such weak banks displayed significantly higher employment reduction in comparison to similar, less exposed firms. The bulk of employment destruction was driven by firm closures, which carries higher economic costs than downsizing, and could potentially make the recession more protracted.
Rafael Doménech, Víctor Pérez-Díaz, Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Based on the report issued by a Committee of Experts, the Spanish Parliament will pass a new law that implements an innovative sustainability factor in the public pension system. This column argues that the proposal solves the problem of financial sustainability in the long run while opening a wider debate on the welfare system and growth under conditions of increased global competition.
Carlos Álvarez-Nogal, Christophe Chamley, Monday, October 21, 2013
The recent showdown over the US debt ceiling can be thought of as a game of chicken over the repayment of sovereign debt, with potentially severe consequences. This column describes an analogous historical episode in Spain, in which city delegates in the Cortes resisted tax increases, and Phillip II responded by suspending payments on a portion of the sovereign debt. By the time the cities caved to a doubling of their tax contribution two years later, the resulting bank failures and credit freeze had caused lasting economic damage.
Aerdt Houben, Jan Kakes, Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Financial cycles have increasingly diverged across members of the Eurozone. National macroprudential tools are thus key to managing financial imbalances and protecting Europe’s economic integration. This column discusses research suggesting that reasonable macroprudential policies by the GIIPS countries in the euro’s first decade would have helped avoid much pain in Italy, Portugal and Spain. Greece’s public debt problems were far too large and its banks could not have been shielded with macroprudential policies.
Manuel Illueca, Lars Norden, Gregory F Udell, Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Economic liberalisation can go wrong when the objectives and corporate governance of the firms in the deregulated industry are not adequately taken into account. This column presents evidence on the deregulation of the Spanish savings banks, known as ‘cajas’, which led to a dramatic expansion of lending and branching, increase in risk taking, and the final implosion of the whole savings-bank sector in Spain in 2012.
Giovanni D'Alessio, Romina Gambacorta, Giuseppe Ilardi, Friday, May 24, 2013
The ECB’s recent survey on household finances and consumption threw up some unexpected results – counter-intuitively, the average German household has less wealth than the average Mediterranean household. In line with a recent VoxEU.org contribution from De Grauwe and Ji, this article analyses the principal differences in wealth and income between the main Eurozone countries.
Javier Andrés, Rafael Doménech, Friday, April 5, 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.
Thomas Grennes, Andris Strazds, Thursday, February 28, 2013
Can European countries share their debts? This column argues that higher government indebtedness means larger household net financial assets. Thus, any pooling of European legacy debt would be considered unacceptable by countries with less government debt unless it also involved the pooling of households’ financial assets. Yet, this would be legally and technically insurmountable. The EU must face forced Ricardian equivalence: the countries with the largest legacy-debt burdens must reduce them by increasing the tax burden or, alternatively, reduce their budget expenditure.
Dirk Schoenmaker, Arjen Siegmann, Wednesday, February 27, 2013
So far, discussions around Europe’s prospective banking union have focused only on the supervision of banks. This column argues that policymakers must also think about the resolution of banks in distress. While national governments confine themselves to the domestic effects of a banking failure, a European Resolution Authority could incorporate domestic and cross-border effects. A cost-benefit analysis of a hypothetical resolution of the top 25 European banks shows that the UK, Spain, Sweden, and the Netherlands would be the main winners.
Miguel Cardoso, Mónica Correa-López, Rafael Doménech, Saturday, November 24, 2012
How can we explain the ‘Spanish paradox’ – a modest market share loss since the launch of the euro alongside a real exchange rate appreciation? This column argues that the non-price determinants of competitiveness have been more important than export prices in explaining the change of world exports shares. Notably, Spanish firms’ strategic decision-making has helped shape Spain´s internationalisation and may, ultimately, be the crucial factor explaining the paradox.
Aoife Hanley, Joaquín Monreal-Pérez, Monday, November 5, 2012
How can Spanish firms innovate to overcome strong economic headwinds? This column presents empirical evidence to show that, in a time of economic crisis, Spanish firms would do well to orient themselves toward foreign markets. The authors propose that there could well be mutiple – and durable – benefits to both the firms and the Spanish economy.
Jacob Funk Kirkegaard, Monday, October 8, 2012
Political pressures are rising again in Europe. This column argues that reactions in parliaments, central banks and on the street are well within the bounds of predictable reactions to hard times. These developments change nothing of significance in the calculus concerning the eventual success of the Eurozone crisis response.
Manuel F. Bagues, Natalia Zinovyeva, Sunday, September 16, 2012
To reduce favouritism in university promotions, Spain recently introduced a centralised system with random assignment of evaluators. This column presents evidence from a unique data set showing that favouritism still matters. Prior connections between candidates and evaluators have a dramatic impact on promotion. The net result is that outcomes are more random and candidates with many connections and from large universities benefit the most.
Zsolt Darvas, Wednesday, September 5, 2012
The need to rebalance the debts of several Eurozone members is a major root of the current crisis. This column argues that a purely intra-euro rebalancing strategy has its limits and that a weaker euro would help. It urges the European Central Bank to adopt looser monetary policy, which is anyway justified in a highly recessionary environment.
William R. Cline, Thursday, August 30, 2012
Interest rates on Italian and Spanish bonds are back up to their 2011 levels, raising alarm bells across Europe. But this column argues that the media’s hard-held belief that neither Italy nor Spain can withstand interest rates of 7% is wrong.
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.
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.
Piero Ghezzi, Saturday, June 23, 2012
€100 billion in fresh support to the Spanish government failed to calm markets; private investors asked for even higher risk premiums on Spanish bonds. Conventional wisdom is that this reaction reflects the way any new official debt – which gets paid off first in case of distress – harms private debt holders. This column challenges this subordination logic and argues that Spain’s latest bank bailout announcement actually increased the value of privately held Spanish sovereign debt..
Bernard Delbecque, Sunday, June 24, 2012
It is not just the crisis that is intensifying; so too is the debate on the potential solutions. This column proposes what to do if Spain is next to fail.