Europe's nations and regions

Ismael Ahmad Fontán, Thorsten Beck, Katia D'Hulster, Pamela Lintner, Filiz Unsal, 20 May 2019

The banking systems in Central, Eastern, and South Eastern Europe are dominated by subsidiaries of multinational banks, many with parent banks from the EU. This column analyses the effects of regulatory and supervisory changes within the EU and euro area on host regulation and supervision in these countries and on their cooperation with home supervisors and resolution authorities in Western Europe. It also offers some recommendations for authorities both at the EU level and in the small host countries.

Bernt Bratsberg, Andreas Moxnes, Oddbjørn Raaum, Karen-Helene Ulltveit-Moe, 09 May 2019

In the aftermath of the eastern enlargement of the EU, Norway experienced one of the largest immigration shocks of the 21st century. This column uses data from the episode to examine the general equilibrium response of wages, labour costs, and industry employment to such shocks. One finding is that although real wages in some occupations decline, the aggregate welfare effects on natives are close to zero as natives switch to higher-wage occupations. The welfare effect on the existing population of immigrants, on the other hand, is negative as they have a comparative advantage in low-wage occupations.

Marco Buti, Oliver Dieckmann, Björn Döhring, Bertrand Marc, Andreas Reuter, 07 May 2019

The sharper-than-expected economic slowdown in the euro area last year was driven by a confluence of weaker export demand and sector- and country-specific factors within the euro area. This column introduces the European Commission’s Spring 2019 Forecast, which projects a moderate rebound over the course of this year as global demand bottoms out and some temporary negative factors fade. This will depend on domestic demand holding up despite the stark slowdown in manufacturing, however, and the baseline scenario is subject to downside risks, some of which could be triggered by misguided economic policies. Economic policy should therefore stand ready to react to a sharper and more protracted slowdown should it occur. 

Naomitsu Yashiro, Konstantins Benkovskis, Olegs Tkacevs, 06 May 2019

EU cohesion policy aims to narrow gaps in economic development through large regional support funds. This column presents new research on the impact of such funds on firms’ performance, focusing on the experience of Latvia, one of the largest recipients relative to its size. The findings indicate that larger and more productive firms are more likely to receive support funds, but it is not clear if their productivity improves as a result. Access to such funds must be facilitated to allow smaller and less productive firms, which have a great need for investment and a larger room for productivity catch-up, to be included in the pool of potential recipients.

Tito Boeri, Andrea Ichino, Enrico Moretti, Johanna Posch, 13 April 2019

In many European countries, wages are determined by collective bargaining agreements intended to improve wages and reduce inequality. This column compares the impact of different wage bargaining models in Italy, which has limited geographical wage differences in nominal terms and almost no relationship between local productivity and local nominal wages, and Germany, which has a tighter link between local wages and local productivity. The Italian system is successful at reducing nominal wage inequality, but creates costly geographic imbalances. If Italy were to adopt the German system, aggregate employment and earnings would increase by 11.04% and 7.45%, respectively. 

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