Many policymakers in Europe seem to stick to the idea that fiscal consolidation might inspire confidence and help the economy to grow. This column argues these sentiments may be understandable but are basically wrong. For countries like the UK where borrowing is relatively cheap and sovereign default unlikely, slowing down the pace of fiscal consolidation would be a rational response. The obsession over the fiscal stance is a distraction from sustainable long-run growth.
John Van Reenen, Friday, April 27, 2012
Prakash Loungani, M Ayhan Kose, Marco E Terrones, Tuesday, April 24, 2012
How different is the current recovery from past ones? How do prospects differ between advanced and emerging economies? This column argues that the ongoing recovery in advanced economies has so far paralleled the weak and protracted recovery following the 1991 global recession to a surprising degree, partly because of challenges in Europe. In contrast, the recovery in emerging market economies has been unusually strong.
Marco Buti, Lucio R Pench, Friday, April 20, 2012
Most economists agree that European economies share the need to reduce public deficits and debts. This column stresses that while gradual consolidations are in general more likely to succeed than cold-shower ones, the superiority of a gradual strategy tends to evaporate for high levels of debt and is also less pronounced for consolidation episodes following a financial crisis.
Uri Dadush, Zaahira Wyne, Friday, April 20, 2012
The current gyrations of sentiment over government-bond spreads in the Eurozone are generating much commentary. Yet this column argues they are diverting attention from the real issue – the Eurozone periphery needs a big realignment towards the tradable sector to reignite growth sustainably. It adds that EU policies have made little progress, casting doubt on whether the adjustment can succeed.
Manfred J M Neumann, Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Debt finance of public consumption has clearly gone too far in several countries, reaching the borderline of sustainability. Have austerity measures now gone too far as well? This column argues it seems too early to sound the alarm. First, the global economy is likely to grow by 3.3 % this year, and second, reversing the fiscal stance or exiting the euro are worse options than austerity.
Richard Baldwin, Tuesday, April 10, 2012
The five finalists of the £250,000 EZ breakup contest were announced last week; only one has a graduate degree in economics. This column argues that three are amateurish efforts full of economic and factual errors. European economists should take such ignorance seriously. Failure to do so in the US allowed odious ideas to gain respectability.
Andrea Boltho, Wendy Carlin, Saturday, March 31, 2012
Divergent behaviour from Eurozone countries that have very different economic, social, and political structures is threatening the existence of the single currency. This column argues that the Eurozone is a fragile bureaucratic creation that has hardly ever raised much popular enthusiasm anywhere. If behaviour across the area remains as asymmetric as it has been over the last decade or so, the project could run into even stronger headwinds in the long run.
Marco Buti, Pier Carlo Padoan, Tuesday, March 27, 2012
In late 2011, the financial crisis had evolved dangerously into a vicious circle of sluggish growth, tensions in sovereign debt markets, and banking sector fragility. CEPR Policy Insight No. 61 looks at what measures are required to turn the economy around.
Marco Buti, Pier Carlo Padoan, Tuesday, March 27, 2012
The economic and financial crisis in the Eurozone is in its fourth year. This column argues that, by providing a confidence bridge, decisive and credible policy action can turn the economy around and bring it towards a good equilibrium of debt sustainability and sustainable growth.
Gianluca Cafiso, Roberto Cellini, Tuesday, March 20, 2012
As fiscal-consolidation policies are being implemented across the EU, a debate has been developing concerning the effects of such policies on the dynamics of the debt-to-GDP ratio. This column examines past episodes and finds that following fiscal adjustment may have favourable effects in the short term but that the two-year cumulated changes have been mainly adverse.
Hans-Werner Sinn, Saturday, March 10, 2012
In February 2012, the Bundesbank had a TARGET claim of €547 billion on the Eurosystem. This column proposes a US-like system of marketable covered treasury bills that could be applied to a yearly settlement of TARGET liabilities.
Jacob Funk Kirkegaard, Thursday, March 1, 2012
Brinkmanship has produced an early-morning deal in Europe to extend a new lifeline to Greece and clear the way for the biggest sovereign bond restructuring in history. This column takes a detailed look at the EU deal, the ongoing brinkmanship between the Eurozone and the IMF, and the general focus on austerity.
Marga Peeters, Ard den Reijer, Tuesday, January 3, 2012
While EU leaders are drafting a fiscal compact, the problem of intra-European real exchange-rate misalignments remains. This column argues that reducing imbalances implies a focus on competitiveness, and hence on the alignment of nominal-wage growth with labour-productivity growth.
Vincent O'Sullivan, Stephen Kinsella, Saturday, December 17, 2011
The capital shortfall at EU banks is 8% higher than originally thought, according to the latest assessment from the European Banking Authority. This column examines the evolution of loan-to-deposit ratios in big European banks. It says banks have been buying back their debt securities, hoarding profits, limiting bonuses, and deleveraging. However, write-downs of sovereign debt have largely offset these efforts.
Nicolas Berman, Antoine Berthou, Jérôme Héricourt, Friday, December 16, 2011
The synchronised poor growth in European countries can be explained by many factors, including trade and financial linkages. This column argues that firms’ domestic sales are directly affected by the fall in their exports. Using French firm-level data and the Asian Crisis as a foreign-demand shock, it finds that domestic sales were 5% lower for firms exposed to the crisis. It suggests that this is because the cash flow generated by exports may be used by firms to finance domestic operations in the short term.
Damiano Sandri, Ashoka Mody, Wednesday, November 23, 2011
European policymakers are confronting a heightened crisis characterised by a perverse and seemingly intractable interplay between sovereign debt pressures and financial-sector fragilities. This column argues that the payoffs from strengthening banks’ balance-sheets can still be large and, therefore, fiscal support is merited. But a more resolute strategy for winding down banks is also needed.
Viral Acharya, Dirk Schoenmaker, Sascha Steffen, Tuesday, November 22, 2011
The lack of market confidence in European banks is fed by the uncertainty about Eurozone sovereign debt. This column argues governments and banking supervisors should agree a recapitalisation package well before Christmas. It adds that the required amount to be raised by each bank should be presented as a euro amount and not as a ratio so as not to tempt banks to cut down assets instead of raising capital.
Cezary Wójcik, Christian Fahrholz , Monday, October 31, 2011
With the sovereign debt crisis spreading across Europe, there is no shortage of suggestions on how to save the Eurozone. This column says exit rules are the silver bullet. It argues that exit rules would decrease the probability of a breakup of the Eurozone by enhancing market discipline, increasing the political bargaining power of EZ members vis-à-vis the profligate countries, enhancing internal discipline in the profligate countries, and reducing market uncertainty.
Guntram Wolff, Sunday, October 30, 2011
Stress in the interbank market has increased dramatically since July 2011, and bank stock market valuations have fallen by 22% on average for 60 of the most important banks subject to stress tests. This column argues that bank stock valuation has been affected by the banks’ exposure to Greek debt and that Greek banks were particularly affected. Holdings of debt of the other four periphery countries does not, however, appear to be a strong determinant of stock price movements.
Charles Wyplosz, Tuesday, October 25, 2011
A series of policy mistakes have put Europe on the wrong path. This column says that the current plan to enlarge the EFSF and recapitalise banks through markets will fail. The twin crises linking sovereign debts and banking turmoil need to be addressed simultaneously for Europe to avoid economic disaster.