Europe's nations and regions

Gordon Betcherman, Mauro Testaverde, 18 November 2020

The Covid-19 crisis has profoundly affected employment everywhere, but countries have adopted different strategies to try to mitigate the worst of the effects. This column compares the Greek experience to the rest of Europe, as well as to North America. The authors conclude that given the nature of the pandemic, models for managing labour market shocks will need to offer extended support where the shock persists or reoccurs. Crucially, successful policy approaches will need to be well suited for enabling job creation once conditions are in place for a restart.

Maarten Verwey, Reinhard Felke, Laura Bardone, 06 November 2020

The Autumn 2020 European Economic Forecast remains dominated by the pandemic. The exceptionally strong rebound experienced in the third quarter is being put on hold as national authorities introduce new public health measures to stem the resurgence of the virus. The projected return to the recovery in 2021 and its speed are subject to extremely high uncertainty. The economic impact of the pandemic is set to continue differing widely across the EU. In these circumstances, a rapid approval and speedy implementation of Next Generation EU is crucial.   

Matthias Eckardt, Kalle Kappner, Nikolaus Wolf, 04 November 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic has seen the reintroduction of national border controls within Europe’s Schengen Area, but the effectiveness of this is disputed. This column uses regional data on confirmed new Covid-19 cases from the statistical agencies of 18 Western European countries to show that border controls helped to contain Covid-19, but only for regions with a substantial number of cross-border commuters prior to the crisis. Better policy coordination at the European level could have generated these benefits at lower economic (and political) cost.

Bary Pradelski, Miquel Oliu-Barton, 22 October 2020

On 13 October 2020, EU member states agreed to common criteria for mapping epidemiological risk and to implement non-discriminatory travel restrictions. The strategy agrees in its key aspects with the concept of green-zoning introduced in the original version of this column, which was published in April and circulated to European decision makers. It is based on four principles: (1) divide each country into smaller zones; (2) label zones green if the virus is under control, and red otherwise; (3) adopt colour-dependent public health measures; (4) allow free travel between green zones, but control other travel. This approach is aimed at curbing the spread of the virus while ensuring lasting economic recovery.

Sergio Galletta, Tommaso Giommoni, 03 October 2020

The COVID-19 outbreak is expected to increase income inequality around the world as the poorer are likely to be hit harder by the pandemic’s negative economic impact. Focusing on Italy, this column argues that such distributional consequences also appeared during the 1918 influenza pandemic. Income inequality became higher in areas more afflicted by the flu pandemic, and this is mostly explained by a reduction in the share of income held by poorer people. This effect seems to persist even a century after the pandemic.

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