Marco Buti, Vitor Gaspar, 08 July 2021

Almost 30 years ago, the European Council in Maastricht agreed, on 10 December 1991, the draft Treaty on the European Union. In this column, the authors, who were both involved in preparing the summit, examine the arithmetic of the Maastricht reference values in relation to the macroeconomic facts as of today. Broader questions to do with fiscal architecture and institutional design will be addressed in a subsequent column.

Fabrizio Zilibotti, Andreas Müller, Kjetil Storesletten, 12 November 2019

The growth of the US national debt during the Trump presidency is particularly remarkable given its overlap with a period of economic expansion. But in this regard if few others, the Trump administration is no outlier. This column challenges the claim that Republicans adhere to fiscal conservatism in debt policy. Instead, it shows that Republican administrations since WWII have been more prone to expand government debt than their Democratic counterparts. And broadly speaking, the same pattern emerges in a panel of OECD countries.  

Marlene Amstad, Eli Remolona, Jimmy Shek, 28 October 2017

Global investors are assumed to differentiate between economies using economic fundamentals. This column uses returns on sovereign CDS contracts for 18 emerging markets and ten advanced countries to argue that fundamentals do not drive these decisions. Instead, most of the variation across sovereigns reflects whether or not the country is designated as an 'emerging market'. Investment strategies tend simply to replicate benchmark portfolios.

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