Stefano Micossi, 20 October 2020

As the world comes to terms with a post-Covid reality, the euro area must confront its growing fiscal and sovereign debts. This column argues that common euro area policies are justified in order to address sovereign debt externalities and risks to financial stability. It considers a mechanism involving large transfers of euro area sovereigns from the ECB to the ESM as a possible way forward.

Sofoklis Goulas, Rigissa Megalokonomou, 17 August 2020

During the 2009 swine flu pandemic, Greece eased its high school attendance policy despite few cases being reported among children of high school age. This column examines the relationship between the relaxed attendance policy and absences, academic performance, and neighbourhood income. Students of higher prior performance took more absences, while students of lower prior performance kept going to school. Prior performance is positively associated with neighbourhood income, suggesting that students in poorer neighbourhoods may be less likely to follow school distancing guidelines during a pandemic. The relaxed attendance policy is associated with decreased performance for students that take more absences.

Sofoklis Goulas, Rigissa Megalokonomou, 11 January 2020

Exam scheduling may contribute to performance gaps between subjects, between males and females, as well as between students with differing performance histories. Using lottery-generated variation in exam timing at a Greek public high school, this column identifies three distinct channels through which exam scheduling can influence test performance. The simulation experiments show that the higher the number of exams taken, the higher the potential benefit from optimising exams scheduling.

Cormac Ó Gráda, 02 September 2019

Of WWII’s warring powers only the Soviet Union suffered mass starvation, but as this column, part of a Vox debate on the economics of WWII, describes, it is a measure of the war’s global reach that 20 to 25 million civilians died of hunger or hunger-related diseases outside Europe. In Britain effective rationing ensured a ‘fair’ distribution of food supplies throughout the war and in Germany the famine conditions experienced in 1918-19 were not replicated, but Japan was facing semi-starvation at war’s end. In Europe, apart from Greece and the Soviet Union, famine mortality was modest, but 3-5% of the populations of faraway Bengal, Henan, and Java perished. 

Marcos Chamon, Julian Schumacher, Christoph Trebesch, 06 November 2018

Do investors care about the legal characteristics of sovereign debt? Focusing on the euro area, this column compares sovereign bonds issued under domestic law  to those issued under a foreign jurisdiction, which are harder to restructure in a debt crisis since they are out of reach of the borrowing country’s legislature. This legal protection means that foreign law bonds trade at a premium (with lower yields), but only in situations of severe distress such as Greece or Portugal in 2011/2012. In the midst of a crisis, governments can borrow more cheaply by issuing in foreign law. 

Simon Wren-Lewis, 03 September 2018

Silvia Marchesi, Tania Masi, 06 July 2018

Euro area governments have just negotiated a debt relief agreement for Greece, but without face-value debt reduction. This column argues that specific characteristics of sovereign debt renegotiations have significant economic implications. When debt relief operations involve write-offs, the defaulting country benefits strongly in term of growth up to ten years after the restructuring. 

George Papaconstantinou, 21 June 2018

The policy discussion on euro area reform has entered a critical phase. This column, part of the VoxEU debate on euro area reform, attempts a ‘what if’ experiment based on the proposals in the recent CEPR Policy Insight. Focusing on the Greek case, it looks at the counterfactual case of such proposals having already been implemented at the outset of the crisis and examines their potential role in preventing the outbreak of the crisis or mitigating it once it was underway.

Ashoka Mody, 01 April 2018

Barry Eichengreen, Emilios Avgouleas, Miguel Poiares Maduro, Ugo Panizza, Richard Portes, Beatrice Weder di Mauro, Charles Wyplosz, Jeromin Zettelmeyer, 20 March 2018

Greece’s third economic programme has been relatively successful, but before it can return to private market financing, the country will require more official debt relief. CEPR Policy Insight No. 92 asks how much debt relief is required and how it should be delivered. 

Barry Eichengreen, Emilios Avgouleas, Miguel Poiares Maduro, Ugo Panizza, Richard Portes, Beatrice Weder di Mauro, Charles Wyplosz, Jeromin Zettelmeyer, 20 March 2018

Greece’s third economic programme has been relatively successful, but before it can return to private market financing, the country will require more official debt relief. This column introduces a new CEPR Policy Insight which asks how much debt relief is required and how it should be delivered. Any debt relief package for Greece that wishes to avoid shifting the burden of repayment several generations into the future will need to include some degree of face-value debt relief.

Paolo Manasse, Dimitris Katsikas, 01 February 2018

The basic ingredients of the policy prescriptions in response to the euro area debt crisis were quite similar across Southern Europe. This column explores the economic, political, and institutional factors that differentially affected the success of these prescriptions from country to country. Policy timing and sequencing, the balance between fiscal consolidation and structural reforms, and external constraints all play crucial roles. Future reform programmes should be calibrated to the distinct economic, social, and political features of targeted countries.

Jeremy Bulow, John Geanakoplos, 30 June 2017

After another six months of discussions, Greek debt negotiations succeeded in once again kicking the can down the road. This column analyses how sophisticated and experienced negotiators like the IMF, the Eurozone leadership, and by now even the Greeks, could have let negotiations drag out for so many years, and goes on to propose a plan which might be just radical enough to meet the needs of all parties.

Charles Wyplosz, 17 February 2017

The IMF has just released its self-evaluation of its Greek lending, in which it admits to many mistakes. This column argues that the report misses one important error – reliance on the Debt Sustainability Analysis – but notes that the IMF’s candour should be a model for the other participants in the lending, namely, the European Commission and the ECB.

Chris Marsh, Dominik Nagly, George Pagoulatos, Elias Papaioannou, 17 November 2016

It is now seven years since the Greek crisis began. As well as reflecting the chronic deficiencies of its own institutions, the failings in Greece also reflect substantial shortcomings in international institutions. This column argues that it is time for all sides to move on, and proposes a simple debt operation for Greece that can deliver debt sustainability with minimal adjustments to the ESM operating procedures.

Stefano Micossi, 20 August 2016

Some economists are approaching a consensus that the Eurozone’s financial architecture is now resilient enough to withstand another shock similar to that of 2010-11. This column argues that such a view may be overly optimistic. Economic and financial instability persists in member states and the banking sector, and institutions to tackle a shock remain incomplete. While the Eurozone remains vulnerable to a bad shock, the blanket application of burden sharing without consideration of current economic and financial conditions is unwise.

Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, Thomas Philippon, Dimitri Vayanos, 05 August 2016

The Greek crisis is one of the worst in history, even in the context of recorded ‘trifecta’ crises – the combination of a sudden stop with output collapse, a sovereign debt crisis, and a lending boom/bust. This column quantifies the role of each of these factors to better understand the crisis and formulate appropriate policy responses. While fiscal consolidation was important in driving the drop in output, it accounted for only for half of that drop. Much of the remainder can be explained by the higher funding costs of the government and private sectors due to the sudden stop. 

Lubos Pastor, 04 July 2016

Britain voted for Brexit, but many seek ways to avoid it. This draws comparison with the events of almost exactly a year ago when the Greek government ignored the outcome of the Greek bailout referendum. This column argues that the Greek government hoped the result would crash the EU’s stock markets and thus strengthen its bargaining power. When this failed to materialise, the government ignored the plebiscite and signed the bailout extension. In the Brexit case, the observed market drops do not qualify as a collapse and so the referendum’s outcome is likely to be implemented.

Paul De Grauwe, 13 May 2016

Greece may be about to get some debt relief, although there is still resistance to the idea. This column argues that the ECB has been providing other Eurozone countries with debt relief since early 2015 through its programme of quantitative easing. The reason given for excluding Greece from the QE programme – the ‘quality’ of its government bonds – can easily be overcome if the political will exists to do so. It is time to start treating a country struggling under the burden of immense debt in the same way as the other Eurozone countries are treated.

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