Global Crisis Debate

Banking reform: Do we know what has to be done?

Moderator: Wouter den Haan (London School of Economics)

There have been a lot of proposals for new legislation and some have already been implemented. However, many questions remain. Has enough been done to reduce the chance of another financial crisis? How fast should new rules be implemented? What should happen during the transition period? Are governments overreaching and is the new regulation going to stifle growth in the financial sector? This debate is about these questions.


What's the use of economics?

Moderator: Richard Baldwin (Graduate Institute, Geneva and CEPR)

Economics is under fire both from outside and inside the profession for irrelevance, arrogance, and more. This new Vox debate focuses on two questions: What’s the use of economics? How should we be teaching it to the next generation?


Has austerity gone too far?

Moderator: Giancarlo Corsetti (University of Cambridge and CEPR)

Europe has embraced austerity but financial markets still worry about debt sustainability - at least in part due to slow growth that has been associated with fiscal belt-tightening. Is austerity self-defeating? Is it keeping Europeans underemployed for years and thus destroying the medium-run growth needed to pay off the debt? Or are the belt-tighteners wisely steering their nations clear of Greek-like tragedies?

The questions for debate are simple:

  • Should governments let up on austerity now that the global economy is weak but credibility on fiscal sustainability is far from granted?
  • And under what circumstances would be wise to do so?


Why do we need a financial sector?

Moderator: Wouter DenHaan (London School of Economics)

This VoxEU debate poses the questions why we need a financial sector and how much should we reasonably pay for it? Whilst some activities in the financial sector are obviously beneficial and should be maintained, others are less clearly so in today's climate. Various proposed regulatory changes will make it more costly and difficult for the financial sector to perform some activities - but is that necessarily a bad thing? If appropriate regulation could serve to curb excesses whilst not affecting the benefits and value added of the sector as a whole then, potentially, resources could be freed up for other more socially useful activities.

The future of EU trade policy

The European Commission has just launched a public consultation on the future direction of EU trade policy. This VoxEU debate, moderated by Richard Baldwin, launches an online discussion of the Commission's proposals.

The first column, by DG Trade's Chief Economist, presents the key elements of the new policy.


The Global Crisis partnered with the UK government to collect the views of economists from around the world on what should be done to fix the global economy. The analysis and proposals that appeared in the "Global Crisis Debate" fed directly into the UK's preparation for the London summit of world leaders in April 2010. This debate was featured on the UK government's own web site. The debate has six themes:

Macroeconomics, moderated by Philip Lane and featuring lead commentaries that include:
Financial rescue and regulation, moderated by Luigi Zingales and featuring lead commentaries that include:
Open markets, moderated by Richard Baldwin and featuring lead commentaries that include:


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