Anne-Laure Delatte, Alexis Guillaume, 17 July 2020

There was a risk of another euro crisis in Spring 2020. Yet, after a massive sell-off of peripheral bonds, the markets have stabilised. This column analyses the impact of events over the last months on euro area sovereign bond spreads. It finds that differences in healthcare capacity are reflected in bond prices, markets prefer fiscal transfers to loans-based financial assistance programs, and that ECB speeches have stronger effects than deeds during the crisis episode. Of all the euro area members, Italian spreads benefited most from the recent policy interventions.

Plamen Nikolov, Paolo Pasimeni, 11 December 2019

If properly designed, even a small fiscal capacity can maximise its stabilisation effect. The column studies the macroeconomic stabilisation provided by the federal budget in the US as an example for monetary unions. Corporate income tax, on the revenue side, and social security, on the spending side, are the two most effective items. The key is to collect revenues based on the income of the most mobile factor, and to provide support to the income of the least mobile factor. 

Wei Cui, Vincent Sterk, 09 January 2019

The effects of quantitative easing are poorly understood, in part because standard models of monetary policy predict that it doesn't work. This column uses a model in which households can be unequal and hold assets with different degrees of liquidity to show that quantitative easing can provide a powerful stimulus to the macroeconomy, and that it avoided a large decline in output and inflation during 2009. Nevertheless, side-effects on inequality mean that social welfare tends to be lower under quantitative easing than under conventional policy.

Alex Cukierman, Thomas Lustenberger, 04 November 2018

Almost 60 years ago, John Muth introduced the idea that adaptive expectations are rational if they efficiently use all available information. However, individuals are never fully certain, even ex post, about the permanence of economic developments. Using Israeli data, this explores the implications of this residual uncertainty for market efficiency. The findings point to issues with conventional market efficiency tests where ‘permanent-transitory confusion’ is in effect. 

Marcel Fratzscher, Christoph Grosse Steffen, Malte Rieth, 17 August 2018

Does inflation targeting help absorb large shocks? This column shows that it implies higher output growth and lower inflation when countries are hit by natural disasters. Hard targeting works in these cases; soft targeting does not. This has impacts for how we evaluate the success of inflation targeting during the global crisis, but also for the debate on flexible inflation targeting.

Paolo Pasimeni, Stéphanie Riso, 19 January 2017

EU budget reform is a key issue in policy debates, in particular the redistributive effects between member states. This column assesses redistribution within the EU budget over the period 2000 to 2014. It finds that the net redistributive impact of the EU budget is rather small and, contrary to common belief, that the revenue side is more progressive than the expenditure side.

László Andor, Paolo Pasimeni, 13 December 2016

Since its inception, the Eurozone has had lower growth and higher unemployment rates than other regions, which suggests the need for new fiscal instruments. This column argues for a stabilisation instrument based on unemployment as the driving indicator. This unemployment benefit scheme coud take the form of a basic common European scheme, or a reinsurance fund supporting national systems. In either case, the instrument wouldn’t be a panacea, and the key obstacle to implementation would be political. 

Tommaso Monacelli, 12 February 2016

The boom-bust cycle in the Eurozone between 2000 and 2008 is essentially a story of cyclical asymmetries between the Core and the Periphery. While stressing the importance of addressing these asymmetries – especially via fiscal policy – the ECB has failed to take them explicitly into account in its own policy-setting. This essay argues that these asymmetries may persist precisely because they are not a central target of stabilisation policy – both fiscal and monetary. 

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