Rafael Ch, Jacob Shapiro, Abbey Steele, Juan F. Vargas, 29 January 2019

It is widely accepted that war between states can lead to increased fiscal capacity. Yet, there is no similarly clear, historically consistent accounting of how civil wars have affected state capacity and tax revenues. Using recent evidence from Colombia, this column shows that municipalities affected by internal conflict have tax institutions consistent with the preferences of the parties that have managed to inflict more violence in the past. Internal armed conflict can help interest groups capture municipal institutions for their own private benefit, impeding state-building.

Marco Buti, Nicolas Carnot, 07 December 2018

The debate continues over the needed ingredients for a stable Economic and Monetary Union. Some authors have argued that the completion of a financial union (banking union and capital markets union) together with sound national fiscal policies eliminate the need for common budgetary instruments. The authors of this column beg to disagree and re-state the case for a central fiscal capacity. In essence, whilst financial union and a euro area fiscal stabilisation are substitutes in normal times, they are complementary in bad times. 

Lars Feld, 31 July 2018

In their CEPR Policy Insight, the team of French and German economists focus on a compromise between market discipline and risk sharing. This column, part of the VoxEU debate on euro area reform, argues that their proposal fails to address legacy debt problems convincingly and that the introduction of a fiscal capacity would repeat the mistakes made at the introduction of EMU, with later steps towards European integration being attempted before the necessary first steps have been taken.

K. Kıvanç Karaman, Sevket Pamuk, Seçil Yıldırım-Karaman, 24 February 2018

There is a notable lack of long-run analyses of monetary systems and their stability. This column addresses this gap by looking at the monetary systems of major European states between 1300 and 1914. The evidence collected suggests that, despite many switches between standards and systems, fiscal capacity and political regimes ultimately shaped patterns of monetary stability. Theories of monetary stability that rely on the mechanics of monetary systems perform poorly when such a long-run perspective is taken.

Joram Mayshar, Omer Moav, Zvika Neeman, Luigi Pascali, 11 September 2015

Conventional theory suggests that hierarchy and state institutions emerged due to increased productivity following the Neolithic transition to farming. This column argues that these social developments were a result of an increase in the ability of both robbers and the emergent elite to appropriate crops. Hierarchy and state institutions developed, therefore, only in regions where appropriable cereal crops had sufficient productivity advantage over non-appropriable roots and tubers.

Jean-Pierre Landau, 02 December 2014

Eurozone inflation has been persistently declining for almost a year, and constantly undershooting forecasts. Building on existing research, this column explores the conjecture that low inflation in the Eurozone results from an excess demand for safe assets. If true, this conjecture would have definite policy implications. Getting out of such a ‘safety trap’ would necessitate fiscal or non-conventional monetary policies tailored to temporarily take risk away from private balance sheets.


CEPR Policy Research