Regional wage differentials in the public sector

Masayuki Morikawa 23 November 2014

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After the global financial crisis, some European countries reduced their public sector wages to ensure fiscal sustainability. In Japan, after the Great East Japan Earthquake, the wages of the central government officials were cut for two years to finance the reconstruction expenses. Even in normal times, the appropriate level of public sector wages is debated frequently in every country. Because wages are an important incentive for workers, appropriate wage levels and their structure in the public sector are essential for ensuring the quality and efficiency of public services.

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Topics:  Labour markets

Tags:  fiscal sustainability, global crisis, Public sector wages, public-sector pay, Public sector, private sector, Great East Japan Earthquake, Japan, Europe, agglomeration, spatial equilibrium, wages, wage premia, regional wage differentials

The 2014 EU-wide bank stress test lacks credibility

Morris Goldstein 18 November 2014

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On October 26th 2014 the European Central Bank (ECB) and the European Banking Authority (EBA) released the results of the latest EU-wide stress test and the accompanying asset quality review (AQR).1

The 2014 stress test encompasses four key findings:

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Topics:  EU institutions

Tags:  bank recapitalisation, banks, Central Banks, Europe, European Central Bank, European Union

Contagion in the European sovereign debt crisis

Brent Glover, Seth Richards-Shubik 12 November 2014

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Fear of financial contagion was a major motivation behind the bailouts and other interventions provided during the recent sovereign debt crisis in Europe. Given the interconnected network of financial relationships among European nations, the potential for contagion seemed self-evident. But what really was – and is – the magnitude of the risk of sovereign contagion in Europe? 

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Topics:  EU policies Financial markets

Tags:  sovereign debt crisis, Europe, financial contagion

How to climb a mountain with both hands tied

Jean Pisani-Ferry 07 November 2014

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Against the background of lacklustre global demand, economic growth in Europe has weakened again. In the Eurozone, a third recession in less than seven years is a distinct possibility. Yet economic policy looks powerless. On the monetary side, although the ECB may still embark on a genuine programme of quantitative easing, such action is unlikely to deliver a major boost because the benchmark 10-year government bonds already yield just 1%.

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Topics:  Environment EU policies Macroeconomic policy Microeconomic regulation

Tags:  Europe, eurozone, recession, stimulus, monetary policy, quantitative easing, fiscal policy, structural reforms, labour market reforms, liquidity trap, investment, Cash for clunkers, scrapping subsidies, environment, regulation, emissions standards

Americans work too long (and too often at strange times)

Daniel S. Hamermesh, Elena Stancanelli 29 September 2014

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The facts on work hours and timing

The average US workweek is 41 hours, 3 hours longer than Britain’s and even longer than in Germany, France, Spain, or the Netherlands (see the Table below).

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Topics:  Labour markets

Tags:  work hours, night work, weekend work, US, Europe

Cross-country differences in perceptions of inequality

Judith Niehues 28 September 2014

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The well-known and frequently tested median voter theorem predicts a positive relationship between income inequality and state redistribution; if the decisive median voter’s income is below the social average, he votes for more welfare redistribution because he expects to benefit from progressively financed welfare programmes. However, this theory does not perform very well when confronted with data. Although income inequality is high in the US, support for welfare state programmes is relatively low. In contrast, income differences in European countries are substantially lower.

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Topics:  Poverty and income inequality Welfare state and social Europe

Tags:  income inequality, perceived income inequality, Europe, US

Is the ECB doing QE?

Charles Wyplosz 12 September 2014

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The 4 September announcement by Chairman Mario Draghi has been greeted with enthusiasm by the markets and the media. It has been long awaited, and many believe that the ECB has finally delivered. This is not sure. The ECB intends to buy large amounts of securities backed by bank lending to households (mortgages) and to firms.

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Topics:  Exchange rates Financial markets Monetary policy

Tags:  quantitative easing, QE, monetary policy, unconventional monetary policy, ECB, securitisation, bank lending, Europe, eurozone, Subprime, stress tests, deleveraging, recapitalisation, depreciation, exchange rates, euro, central banking

To exit the Great Recession, central banks must adapt their policies and models

Marcus Miller, Lei Zhang 10 September 2014

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“Practical men…are usually the slaves…[of] some academic scribbler of a few years back” – John Maynard Keynes.

For monetary policy to be most effective, Michael Woodford emphasised the crucial importance of managing expectations. For this purpose, he advocated that central banks adopt explicit rules for setting interest rates to check inflation and recession, and went on to note that:

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Topics:  Global crisis Macroeconomic policy Monetary policy

Tags:  Taylor rule, forward guidance, great moderation, global crisis, Great Recession, quantitative easing, DSGE models, expectations, tapering, US, UK, Europe, eurozone, ECB, Bank of England, central banking, IMF, unconventional monetary policy

Is Europe saving away its future? European public funding for research in the era of fiscal consolidation

Reinhilde Veugelers 28 August 2014

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Trends in public R&I budgets in EU countries during the crisis

The dangerous cocktail in many European countries of high debt and subdued growth calls for smart fiscal consolidation. Cost-cutting programmes should minimise the potentially negative short-term effect on economic activity, while establishing a foundation for long-term growth, with growth-enhancing public expenditure safeguarded from cuts, or even increased (Teulings 2012).

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Topics:  EU policies Productivity and Innovation

Tags:  research and innovation, Europe, public spending

Secular stagnation: Facts, causes, and cures – a new Vox eBook

Coen Teulings, Richard Baldwin 10 September 2014

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Teaser from original column posted on 15 August 2014

Six years after the Crisis and the recovery is still anaemic despite years of zero interest rates. Is ‘secular stagnation’ to blame? This column introduces an eBook that gathers the views of leading economists including Summers, Krugman, Gordon, Blanchard, Koo, Eichengreen, Caballero, Glaeser, and a dozen others. It is too early to tell whether secular stagnation is really secular, but if it is, current policy tools will be obsolete. Policymakers should start thinking about potential solutions.

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Topics:  Global crisis Macroeconomic policy Monetary policy

Tags:  interest rates, US, Europe, Japan, investment, macroeconomics, Great Recession, zero lower bound, savings, secular stagnation, SecStag debate

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