Ana Fernandes, L Alan Winters, 21 November 2018

Understanding the effect of exchange rate movements on international trade is a major issue for economists and policymakers. This column shows that Portuguese exporters absorbed little of the effect of the large and unanticipated depreciation of sterling following the Brexit referendum into their markups – the vast bulk of the effect of the depreciation was visited on UK users and consumers of Portuguese goods. The lesson for the UK as it contemplates life after Brexit is that it is, in the technical sense, a ‘small open economy’ and will have little ability to negotiate or otherwise achieve better trading terms.

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. 

Sónia Cabral, Pedro S. Martins, João Pereira dos Santos, Mariana Tavares, 30 September 2018

The labour market effects of import competition from China are becoming increasingly relevant. This column analyses both the direct and indirect labour market effects of rising international trade exposure to China, focusing on Portugal. It suggests that the wages and employment of Portuguese workers are negatively affected by China’s competition in third-country markets. Certain groups such as female, older, and less-educated workers, are particularly badly hit.

Mário Centeno, Miguel Castro Coelho, 06 June 2018

Portugal has turned a corner. Having gone through a mild boom, a slump, and a severe recession, all packed into less than two decades, the Portuguese economy has re-emerged with a newfound strength. This column examines this recovery in detail, focusing on important structural reforms that have taken place in the last couple of decades in key areas such as skills, investment, export orientation, labour market, financial intermediation, and public finances. The effects of these reforms were compounded by time as well as efforts to reignite demand.

Nuno Palma, Jaime Reis, 02 June 2018

Can less democratic forms of government lead to higher literacy rates? This column uses a sample of over 4,000 individuals from military archives in Portugal to show that an autocracy can have greater educational success than a democracy if it has closer cultural alignment with the preferences of the masses. This understanding has implications for development policy in poor countries today. 

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.

Lorenzo Caliendo, Giordano Mion, Luca David Opromolla, Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 23 January 2016

Reorganisation doesn’t always create a more efficient and effective firm. This column assesses the extent to which a firm’s physical productivity varies as a result of reorganisation. The results suggest significant variation. For policymakers, studying and understanding the internal organisational responses of firms to firm-specific and economy-wide shocks is essential to understanding the level and distribution of productivity in an economy.

Daniel Dias, Mark Wright, 13 November 2015

Measured as a percentage of its GDP, Greece’s debt is higher than that of Portugal and Ireland. This column discusses a range of new techniques for measuring the debts of Greece, Ireland, and Portugal. It argues that plausible alternative measures of indebtedness suggest that Greece is anywhere from as much as 50% more indebted than Portugal and Ireland to as little as half as indebted. The most reasonable measures imply that Greece is far less indebted than is commonly reported.

Aerdt Houben, Jan Kakes, 30 July 2013

Financial cycles have increasingly diverged across members of the Eurozone. National macroprudential tools are thus key to managing financial imbalances and protecting Europe’s economic integration. This column discusses research suggesting that reasonable macroprudential policies by the GIIPS countries in the euro’s first decade would have helped avoid much pain in Italy, Portugal and Spain. Greece’s public debt problems were far too large and its banks could not have been shielded with macroprudential policies.

Zsolt Darvas, 05 September 2012

The need to rebalance the debts of several Eurozone members is a major root of the current crisis. This column argues that a purely intra-euro rebalancing strategy has its limits and that a weaker euro would help. It urges the European Central Bank to adopt looser monetary policy, which is anyway justified in a highly recessionary environment.

Tito Boeri, 20 July 2012

Solving the EZ crisis will almost certainly involve some financial transfers in exchange for some loss of sovereignty. This column suggests a guiding principle for which policies should be under EZ control. Transfers of authority to supranational bodies must make a no-further-bailout clause credible.

Serguey Braguinsky, Lee Branstetter, André Regateiro, 10 September 2011

Portugal was the third member to join the unenviable club of bailed-out Eurozone countries. This column explores one of the central weaknesses of the Portuguese economy – its low productivity. It finds that this is in part the result of the shrinking size of Portugal’s companies, which is in turn caused by distortions in its labour market that need to be fixed.

Daniel Gros, 24 August 2011

Eurobonds are being touted as the silver bullet to resolve the Eurozone crisis. This column argues that the Eurobonds proposal fails on legal, political, and economic grounds. It says that, whatever the variant, Eurobonds only make sense in a political union—and given the vast differences in national political systems and their quality of governance, any political union created on paper will not work in practice.

Alessandro Turrini, 10 August 2011

Many says southern Europe's low productivity is at least partly attributable to labour-market dualism. Despite that academic view, none of these economies have replaced existing labour contracts with a single contract. The column describes what the recent reform deal in Portugal might achieve.

Harald Hau, 27 July 2011

Last week, the European heads of government added €109 billion to the existing €110 billion rescue plan for Greece. As Europe’s financial sector would have otherwise taken a huge hit, this column address the question: How did the financial sector manage to negotiate such a gigantic wealth transfer from the Eurozone taxpayer and the IMF to the richest 5% of people in the world?

Roel Beetsma, Benjamin Bluhm, Massimo Giuliodori, Peter Wierts, 01 July 2011

Fiscal policy in EU countries is suffering from a calamity of credibility. The fiscal figures get steadily worse as governments move from planning to implementation to retrospective reporting. In order to regain its reputation, this column argues that the EU should improve its fiscal institutions and the EU countries should take more ownership of EU fiscal rules.

Karl Whelan, 09 June 2011

In a recent Vox column, Hans Werner Sinn of the prestigious Institute for Economic Research claims that the German Bundesbank is effectively propping up banks across the Eurozone’s periphery. He adds that doing this risks a major crisis. Here, Karl Whelan of University College Dublin argues that Professor Sinn’s analysis is incorrect and that his policy prescriptions are extremely unhelpful and even dangerous.

Charles Wyplosz, 29 April 2011

Restructuring is a taboo word in Brussels. This column argues that debt restructuring may be a viable option for some of the countries on Europe’s highly indebted periphery.

Paolo Manasse, 05 April 2011

The meeting of the European Council on 24-25 March focused on shoring up the battered Eurozone infrastructure through the European Stability Mechanism. This column argues that the mechanism is seriously flawed. It says it is unlikely to withstand the shock of a severe financial crisis and may even spread the damage to high-debt countries, while leaving the Eurozone in the grip of paralysing vetoes.

Heiko Hesse, Brenda González-Hermosillo, 10 March 2011

Just how much systemic risk remains in the advanced economies? This column uses Markov-switching techniques to examine volatility in equity, interbank, sovereign credit-default swaps, and foreign-exchange markets. It finds that while overall systemic stress emanating from interbank spreads and foreign-exchange volatility has subsided, there are still pockets of systemic risk, particularly in sovereign credit default swaps and equity markets – and this is especially the case for Europe’s periphery.

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