Lessons from the financial preparations in the lead-up to the first world war

Harold James 09 July 2014

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The 1907 panic emanated from the US but affected the rest of the world and demonstrated the fragility of the whole international financial order. The aftermath of the 1907 crash drove the then hegemonic power – Great Britain – to reflect on how it could use its financial power. There is a close link between the aftermath of a great financial crisis and the escalation of diplomatic tensions that led to war in 1914.

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Topics:  Economic history

Tags:  Germany, US, WWI, Great Britain

Trust-based working time spurs innovation

Holger Görg, Olivier N. Godart, Aoife Hanley, Christiane Krieger-Boden 08 July 2014

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The organisation of work has changed dramatically over the last few decades. In particular, the formerly rigidly regulated working time has been replaced by flexible working hour schemes in numerous firms around the world. Taking Germany as an example, in 2010, 36% of employees were entitled to some form of flexible working hours scheme (Figure 1).

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Topics:  Health economics Labour markets Productivity and Innovation

Tags:  Germany, working hours, trust, health, innovation, motivation, overtime, flexibility, working time

The euro crisis: Muddling through, or on the way to a more perfect euro union?

Joshua Aizenman 03 July 2014

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The short history of the Eurozone has been remarkable and unprecedented – the euro project has moved from the planning board to a vibrant currency within less than ten years. Otmar Issing’s optimistic speech in 2006 reflects well the buoyant assessment of the first decade of the euro – an unprecedented formation of a new currency without a state.1 Observers viewed the rapid acceptance of the euro as a viable currency and the deeper financial integration of the Eurozone and the EU countries as stepping stones toward a stable and prosperous Europe.

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Topics:  Institutions and economics International finance Monetary policy

Tags:  Germany, ECB, eurozone, inflation targeting, euro, institutions, Eurozone crisis, GIIPS

Why Europe needs two euros, not one

Jacques Melitz 02 July 2014

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One basic feature of the sickly situation in the Eurozone today is that the system does not clearly bear any essential flaw from the standpoint of Germany. All things considered, the country has not done badly since the Great Recession of 2008-2010. And as the Eurozone moves forward gingerly with necessary reforms in order to avoid a break-up of the system, it is evident that Germany is constantly under pressure to go further with concessions than it would prefer.

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Topics:  EU institutions EU policies

Tags:  Germany, eurozone, second common currency

Four myths about the Great War of 1914-1918

Mark Harrison 03 June 2014

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As its centennial approaches, the events of the Great War have worldwide resonance. Most obviously, is China the Germany of today? Will China’s rise, unlike Germany’s, remain peaceful? The journalist Gideon Rachman wrote last year (Financial Times, February 4, 2013):

“The analogy [of China today] with Germany before the first world war is striking … It is, at least, encouraging that the Chinese leadership has made an intense study of the rise of great powers over the ages – and is determined to avoid the mistakes of both Germany and Japan.”

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Topics:  Economic history Europe's nations and regions

Tags:  Germany, WWI, Versailles treaty, reparations

The German surplus and the Eurosceptics

Francesco Daveri 28 May 2014

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In the European elections of 25 May, the Eurosceptic parties achieved considerable electoral success.

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Topics:  Europe's nations and regions Politics and economics

Tags:  Germany, Eurosceptics, trade surplus

Nazi pork and popularity: How Hitler’s roads won German hearts and minds

Hans-Joachim Voth, Nico Voigtländer 22 May 2014

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‘At least he built the Autobahn’. Many Germans remember this phrase from conversations with parents and grandparents pointing to how the Nazi regime could receive such widespread support. The regime’s overwhelming popularity at home was essential for its policies, from the aggressive pursuit of war abroad to genocide.

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Topics:  Economic history Politics and economics

Tags:  Germany, Adolf Hitler, Nazis, autobahn, pork-barrel spending

A minimalist approach to fiscal oversight

George Kopits 24 December 2013

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The German government has received much criticism for its reluctance to support unified banking supervision under the European Central Bank and the European Commission. Whereas the case for leaving banking regulation and resolution to national authorities, linked by a loose supranational network, may have some merit (Mody 2013), Germany’s apparent preference for bypassing international standards of good practice in regulating its own banking institutions is difficult to justify.

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Topics:  Europe's nations and regions

Tags:  Germany, banking regulation, fiscal regulation

German labour reforms: Unpopular success

Tom Krebs, Martin Scheffel 20 September 2013

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Just a few years ago, Germany was known as the sick man of Europe (Burda 2007). Starting from an average unemployment rate below 4% in the 1970s, Germany saw its rate increase to almost 9% in the period 1995-2005. As seen in Figure 1 the unemployment rate has a strong cyclical component but also a trend component that has been rising since the 1970s until the mid-2000s.

Figure 1. Quarterly unemployment rate, Germany 1970Q1-2012Q4

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Topics:  Labour markets Macroeconomic policy

Tags:  Germany, unemployment, reforms

Bowling for Adolf: How social capital helped to destroy Germany’s first democracy

Hans-Joachim Voth, Nico Voigtländer, Shanker Satyanath 05 August 2013

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As recent events in Egypt and Tunisia demonstrate, establishing viable democracies can be a daunting task. Why do some democracies not just survive, but thrive – often in the face of adversity – while others buckle under strain and collapse? One influential, recent answer has emphasised the importance of ‘social capital’, dense networks of associations in which citizens can interact as equals (Putnam 1995). This idea has a long lineage: When Alexis de Tocqueville visited America in the 1830s, he was impressed by the vigour with which citizens co-operated in clubs and associations.

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Topics:  Economic history Politics and economics

Tags:  Germany, Nazi, Weimar, civil society

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