Loukas Karabarbounis, 16 October 2010

Why do Europe and the US, both affluent regions, differ so much in the size of their welfare state? To answer this question, this column examines OECD countries between 1975 and 2001, finding that countries with wealthier rich- and middle-classes are associated with a smaller welfare state while those with a richer poor class are associated with a larger one – supporting the “one dollar, one vote” explanation.

Marco Buti, Martin Larch, 14 October 2010

The European Commission’s proposals for stronger economic governance in the EU have aroused both broad approval and outright condemnation. In this column, the European Commission’s Director-General for Economic and Financial Affairs outlines why he and colleagues are confident that the proposals will work.

Guido Tabellini, 05 October 2010

The current European economic governance needs reform. This column argues that rather than trying to invade national governments’ autonomy in economic policy, the European authorities should focus on the transfer of sovereignty in the field of financial supervision.

Susan Ariel Aaronson, 01 October 2010

In response to Dr. Cernat’s call for feedback on the EU’s trade policy, this column calls on Europeans and Americans to rethink their trade policies. It argues both can meet 21st century needs only by collaborating, mostly at the WTO. Trade policy challenges are also an opportunity to make the system more coherent and meet the goals of expanding trade, enhancing human welfare and increasing employment.

Simon Evenett, 25 September 2010

EU trade policy has accomplished little of substance during the past decade. This column, a contribution to the ongoing VoxEU debate on The Future of EU Trade Policy, identifies five reality checks that should be taken on board as the European Commission and the Member States reformulate their approach to commercial relations.

Barry Eichengreen, 07 May 2010

EU and IMF efforts to rescue Greece have failed to stabilise Europe's financial markets. Now there are significant concerns about Spain and Portugal's financial circumstances. This column says Europe needs to wake up, face the facts, and take action. It outlines what the IMF, ECB, and Eurozone members need to do to prevent the crisis from spreading. It may be too late for Greece, but it is not too late for Europe.

Lucian Cernat, Bertin Martens, 07 May 2010

The EU and US are huge, quite open markets, but many barriers to doing business across the Atlantic remain. This column argues for creating a transatlantic marketplace by reducing regulatory barriers. The EU and US are already regulatory standard setters. Creating a transatlantic market with harmonised regulation would strongly reinforce this global regulatory leadership role.

Daniel Gros, Cinzia Alcidi, 28 April 2010

The key question for European policymakers and financial markets alike is now whether ‘Greece can make it’. This column reviews past episodes and suggests such huge fiscal adjustments have been possible in the past, but take at least 5 years and the debt to GDP ratio keeps on increasing during the process.

Juergen Matthes, 27 February 2010

The situation in Greece has called into question the EU’s ability to deal with fiscal crises. This column argues that the EU’s political vulnerability is likely to prevent it enforcing existing rules for fiscal discipline. The IMF should therefore be called in. This would take the blame off the Eurozone, re-establish lost credibility, and avoid moral hazard.

Tigran Poghosyan, Martin Cihák, 08 February 2010

How safe are the banks? This column provides new evidence on what determines the likelihood of an EU bank experiencing distress, suggesting that bank risks have converged across EU members, and that a more tightly integrated financial regulation should reflect this. The results also call for a greater role for market discipline.

Cristina Checherita, Maria Attinasi, Christiane Nickel, 11 January 2010

The crisis has raised long-term government bond yield spreads across Europe. This column discusses the causes. Increased risk aversion and concern about public finances explain most of the movements in sovereign bond spreads. Moreover, bank bailouts transferred credit risk from the private sector to governments.

Lucian Cernat, Nuno Sousa, 09 January 2010

What is the impact of crisis-led protectionism on trade? This column provides a new way to interpret protectionism – the “Russian doll” effect – and shows that the effect on EU exports has been more severe than the rest of the world.

Martin Cihák, Erlend Nier, 07 January 2010

The global financial crisis forced governments facing failing financial institutions to choose between disorderly bankruptcies and costly injections of public funds. This column argues that special resolution regimes are a better alternative. It analyses their structure and function and argues EU member states ought to introduce and strengthen such regimes.

Jürgen von Hagen, Ludger Schuknecht, Guido Wolswijk, 21 December 2009

Spreads on government bonds in the EU15 have risen dramatically since the Lehman default in September 2008. This column shows that financial markets’ reactions were not random but rather reflect an intensification of risk concerns, especially regarding the state of public finances. German bonds have acquired a ‘safe-haven' status that they did not have before.

Dirk Schoenmaker, 19 December 2009

Current practice of national crisis resolution is threatening the EU’s single banking market. The financial trilemma suggests that policymakers can only choose two out of the following three objectives: financial stability, financial integration, and national financial policies. This column argues that EU burden-sharing rules among governments can save the single market.

Richard Tol, Thomas Rutherford, Christoph Böhringer, 04 December 2009

The EU is committed to limiting the rise in global average temperature to 2°C above pre-industrial levels and aims to achieve this through a range of policy instruments. This column warns that climate policy need not cost a lot, but imperfect implementation could cause hundreds of billions of euros’ worth of unnecessary welfare losses.

Jaime de Melo, Céline Carrère, Bolormaa Klok, 21 November 2009

Almost all economies are party to preferential trade schemes. But how much are they “giving away” or “receiving” in preferential access? This column presents a compact representation of effective market access and applies it to the proposed ASEAN-EU trade agreement.

Christian Dustmann, Tommaso Frattini, Caroline Halls, 08 August 2009

Are new immigrants a fiscal burden on incumbent residents? This column looks at Eastern European immigrants in the UK and shows that they are net contributors to public finances because they have a higher labour force participation rate, are likely to pay more in indirect taxes like VAT, and make much lower use of benefits and public services.

Marco Buti, István Székely, Filip Keereman, 20 June 2009

This column says that the enlargement of the EU from 15 to 27 members made the EU more competitive and it is therefore better placed to face the current crisis. It says that both old and new member states enjoyed major benefits from eliminating trade barriers, gradually allowing higher cross-border labour mobility, promoting financial integration, strengthening institutions, and significantly reducing political risk.

Bruno van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, Malwina Mejer, 10 April 2009

The European Patent Office has offered a centralised examination service for the 34 member states of the European Patent Convention since the 1970s. However, once patents are granted by the EPO, there is no uniform system to enforce them. They must be validated and enforced by each member state. This column argues that the resulting uncertainty about the validity and market reach of patents reduces innovation.

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