Global crisis

Victor Degorce, Eric Monnet, 21 October 2020

The surge in savings following the 2008-2009 Global Crisis and the recent pandemic have rekindled the interest of economists and policymakers in the paradox of thrift, formulated by Keynes in the 1930s. Subsequent research on the Great Depression of the 1930s, however, has not addressed the link between precautionary savings and growth. Using data on deposits in savings institutions of 22 countries, this column studies the fate of savings during the Great Depression and shows that Keynes' intuition was right. Banking crises had an impact on economic growth not only through the direct lending channel, but also indirectly through an increase in precautionary savings. This bears important lessons for today.

Dan Andrews, Nathan Deutscher, Jonathan Hambur, David Hansell, 01 October 2020

Young people bore the brunt of the labour adjustment to the Great Recession and the COVID-19 shock appears to be having similar effects. Using Australian data over 1991-2017, this column shows that graduating in a recession imparts scarring effects on earnings for up to ten years. Recessions disrupt worker-firm match quality, but the resulting scarring effects fade over time as workers switch to more productive firms. Timely macroeconomic stimulus and labour mobility-enhancing structural reforms can ameliorate the scarring effects of recessions.

Salvador Barrios, Wouter van der Wielen, 30 September 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing Great Lockdown came with an unseen level of economic uncertainty. This column uses Google search data to document the substantial increase in people’s economic anxiety and the coinciding slowdown in European labour markets in the months following the outbreak. The analysis shows that the ensuing fear was significantly more outspoken in those EU countries hit hardest in economic terms, with levels of economic anxiety similar or higher than during the Great Recession of 2007-2009. Unlike during the Great Recession, however, unprecedented policy actions, such as the short-term working schemes implemented or reformed at the onset of the COVID crisis, do not seem to have mitigated overall economic anxiety.

Claudia Foroni, Massimiliano Marcellino, Dalibor Stevanovic, 29 September 2020

Forecasting the recession and recovery from the COVID-19 crisis is of substantial policy interest. The pandemic shock shares both similarities and differences with previous crises, such as the financial crisis of 2007-2009. This column evaluates the ability of different forecasting and nowcasting approaches to predict the COVID-19 economic shock and forecast the potential recovery path. It shows that adjusting for forecasting errors made during the financial crisis of 2007-2009 better aligns the COVID forecasts with observed data. The results suggest a slow recovery to pre-COVID-19 levels, lasting several years.

Arnaud Mehl, Martin Schmitz, Cédric Tille, 29 September 2020

The geographical distance between two countries has a substantial impact on their economic relationship, affecting trade, foreign direct investment, and international banking linkages. Using data from the Great Recession and the COVID-19 pandemic, this column demonstrates that the financial linkages between countries located far from one another experience more volatility during crises than those between countries that are closer together. Policymakers concerned about their country’s exposure to global cycles should focus not only on their primary trading partners, but also on trade flows with more distant partners.

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