Europe's nations and regions

Frank Mattern, Jan Mischke, 21 June 2017

Germany’s large trade surplus is once again at the centre of controversy. This column argues that instead of being on the defensive about its competitive exports, Germany should look to reduce its current account surplus by making itself more competitive in the long term through smart investment in digital and other infrastructure.

Timothy Hatton, 20 June 2017

While immigration preferences have been studied extensively, less attention has been paid to the public’s assessment of the importance of immigration as a policy issue. Using survey data from 17 European countries, this column shows that the drivers of immigration preference and salience are very different. Both immigration preference and salience should be taken into account when assessing the effect of immigration attitudes on policy. 

Athanasios Orphanides, 06 June 2017

Results of actions taken by central banks across advanced economies in response to the Global Crisis have been uneven in allaying fears regarding debt sustainability. This column compares the cases of Italy and Japan to that of Germany to examine whether monetary policy actions since the crisis have become a more important driver of debt dynamics than fiscal policy actions. In contrast to Japan, where in the past few years decisive monetary policy actions have allayed fiscal concerns, in Italy monetary policy decisions appear to have contributed to debt sustainability concerns.  

Jon Danielsson, Robert Macrae, Eva Micheler, 31 May 2017

Brexit is likely to cause considerable disruption for financial markets. Some worry that it may also increase systemic risk. This column revisits the debate and argues that an increase in systemic risk is unlikely. While legal ‘plumbing’ and institutional and regulatory equivalence are of concern, systemic risk is more likely to fall due to increased financial fragmentation and caution by market participants in the face of uncertainty. 

Wouter den Haan, Martin Ellison, Ethan Ilzetzki, Michael McMahon, Ricardo Reis, 30 May 2017

Real hourly wage growth has behaved quite differently across countries over the past ten years. This column describes how the majority view of the latest Centre for Macroeconomics and CEPR expert survey is that low growth of real wages has had a positive impact on European employment rates during the recovery phase of the Great Recession. A strong majority of respondents also agrees that the dire performance of UK real wage growth relative to the big Eurozone economies is in large part due to the UK’s labour market policies, which provide workers with comparatively weak protection.

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