Tito Boeri, Roberto Perotti, 20 January 2021

While many will breathe a sigh of relief as President Trump departs from the White House, up to the end US voters still had more faith in him than in Joe Biden when it came to the economy. This column compares the performance of the US in various economic indicators during the (pre-Covid) Trump administration with President Obama’s final three years, as well as in the euro area, to demonstrate that the view of Donald Trump as ‘the businessman who can at least run the economy’ was mistaken. The real danger of this view is that it suggests that economic policy can best be handled by entrepreneurs – something the Italians have learnt is not the case.

Stefano DellaVigna, Ruben Durante, Brian Knight, Eliana La Ferrara, 09 March 2014

Firms hoping for regulatory favours may direct their business purchases towards firms controlled by politicians, who benefit from the additional revenue. This column provides evidence from Italy consistent with this channel. It shows that the share of advertising on Berlusconi’s televisions increased while he was in power, and this even more so in the most regulated industries.

Francesco D'Acunto, Gaia Narciso, 03 February 2013

How much does media bias affect electoral outcomes? This column examines the Italian case, where Berlusconi, the prime minister, has controlled six out of seven national channels for ten years. It exploits exogenous variation in viewers' exposure to Berlusconi using random switchovers from analogue to digital TV that increased free national channels tenfold. It argues the switch has caused a drop in Berlusconi’s vote share by 5.5 to 7.5 percentage points.

Paolo Manasse, Giulio Trigilia, 23 November 2011

The price of credit-default swaps can be used to estimate the probability of sovereign default. This column examines the case of Italy, looking at how default risk varies across maturities and how this has evolved since January 2011. It suggests that markets are pricing in a heightening of risk two years from now – mostly probably due to political tensions and the risk of deadlocked reform.

Tito Boeri, 03 August 2008

Italy may be headed for recession. The government's fiscal position would allow it to use prudent tax cuts to prevent recession, but its new budget plan only signals trouble.

Tito Boeri, 22 May 2008

Berlusconi’s new government faces tough economic challenges. Here one of Italy’s leading economists highlights three concerns the government must tackle in its first year: fiscal federalism, electoral reform, and curbing tax evasion.

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