Europe's nations and regions

Laurent Ferrara, Valérie Mignon, 17 July 2021

Identifying the peaks and troughs of recessionary episodes helps economists to understand the conditions surrounding crises. But deciding when a recession starts or finishes is not straightforward, and several methods exist. This column presents the dating specification for the French Business Cycle Dating Committee, describing how the group identifies key phases in France’s economic performance based on a quantitative and a qualitative pillar. The committee has dated the peak of the recession linked to the recent Covid-19 pandemic to the last quarter of 2019, it is still too early to identify the exit date of this recession, which is unprecedented in its source and profile. 

Tito Boeri, 16 July 2021

People everywhere sometimes pretend to be sick on a Friday because a day off work means a three-day weekend. In Italy, sick workers may now get a surprise home visit from the doctor. Tito Boeri tells Tim Phillips how effective this has been as a cure for "Friday morning fever".

The paper discussed is:
Boeri, T, Di Porto, E, Naticchioni, P and Scrutinio, V. 2021. 'Friday Morning Fever. Evidence from a Randomized Experiment on Sick Leave Monitoring in the Public Sector.'. London, Centre for Economic Policy Research. https://cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=16104

Valerio Ercolani, Elisa Guglielminetti, Concetta Rondinelli, 26 June 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic has seen a surge in household savings across the world. This column exploits information from the Bank of Italy’s Special Survey of Italian Households to break down recent saving patterns in Italy. It finds an increase in precautionary savings associated with factors such as higher job uncertainty and fears of a protracted pandemic. Additionally, it suggests that a lasting precautionary attitude could slow the decumulation of piled up savings, even as the pandemic slows down.

Jonathan Portes, 25 June 2021

The tide on public sentiment towards immigration in the UK – and economists’ views on Brexit’s economic impact – may be turning. This column discusses the UK’s post-Brexit migration system introduced in January 2021. It argues that the new system, while ending free movement with the EU and hence being far more restrictive for EU citizens moving to the UK for work, is considerably less restrictive.

Niels Thygesen, Roel Beetsma, Massimo Bordignon, Xavier Debrun, Mateusz Szczurek, Martin Larch, Matthias Busse, Mateja Gabrijelcic, Laszlo Jankovics, Janis Malzubris, 16 June 2021

In its latest assessment of the euro area fiscal stance, the European Fiscal Board concludes that national policy plans for 2022 amount to an appropriate fiscal stance for the euro area as a whole. This column discusses how, against the backdrop of a strong economic rebound this year and next and the unwinding of emergency measures, the underlying fiscal deficit of the euro area should halve between 2021 and 2022, while nevertheless remaining well above pre-crisis levels. With significant fiscal support still in the pipeline, more targeted measures should avoid excess economic scarring and encourage sustainable growth while facilitating the green and digital transitions. 

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