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  • Author: Diego Valiante
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Evidence shows that financial integration in the euro area is retrenching at a quicker pace than outside the union. Home bias persists: Governments compete on funding costs by supporting 'their' banks with massive state aids, which distorts the playing field and feeds the risk-aversion loop. This situation intensifies friction in credit markets, thus hampering the transmission of monetary policies and, potentially, economic growth. This paper discusses the theoretical foundations of a banking union in a common currency area and the legal and economic aspects of EU responses. As a result, two remedies are proposed to deal with moral hazard in a common currency area: a common (unlimited) financial backstop to a privately funded recapitalisation/resolution fund and a blanket prohibition on state aids.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The EMS crisis of the 1990 s illustrated the importance of a lack of confidence in price or exchange rate stability, whereas the present crisis illustrates the importance of a lack of confidence in fiscal sustainability. Theoretically the difference between the two should be minor since, in terms of the real return to an investor, the loss of purchasing power can be the same when inflation is unexpectedly high, or when the nominal value of government debt is cut in a formal default. Experience has shown, however, that expropriation via a formal default is much more disruptive than via inflation.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Italy
  • Author: Jørgen Mortensen
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper first takes a step backwards with an attempt to situate the recent adoption of the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union in the context of discussions on the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) and the 'Maastricht criteria', as fixed in the Maastricht Treaty for membership in the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) in a longer perspective of the sharing of competences for macroeconomic policy-making within the EU. It then presents the main features of the new so-called 'Fiscal Compact' and its relationship to the SGP and draws some conclusions as regards the importance and relevance of this new step in the process of economic policy coordination. It concludes that the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union does not seem to offer a definitive solution to the problem of finding the appropriate budgetary-monetary policy mix in EMU, which was already well identified in the Delors report in 1989 and regularly emphasised ever since and is now seriously aggravated due to the crisis in the eurozone. Furthermore, implementation of this Treaty may under certain circumstances contribute to an increase in the uncertainties as regards the distribution of the competences between the European Parliament and national parliaments and between the former and the Commission and the Council.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Bernard Delbecque
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper argues that it should be possible to complement Europe's Economic and Monetary Union with an insurance-type shock absorption mechanism to increase the resilience of member countries to economic shocks and reduce output volatility. Such a mechanism would neither require the establishment of a central authority, nor would it lead to permanent transfers between countries. For this mechanism to become a reality, however, it would be necessary to overcome certain technical problems linked to the difficulty of anticipating correctly the position of an economy in the business cycle.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Paul De Grauwe, Yuemei Ji
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper finds evidence that a significant part of the surge in the spreads of the PIGS countries (Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain) in the eurozone during 2010-11 was disconnected from underlying increases in the debt-to-GDP ratios, and was the result of negative market sentiments that became very strong since the end of 2010.
  • Topic: Economics, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland
  • Author: Paul De Grauwe, Yuemei Ji
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper tests the hypothesis that government bond markets in the eurozone are more fragile and more susceptible to self-fulfilling liquidity crises than in stand-alone countries. We find evidence that a significant part of the surge in the spreads of the PIGS countries (Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain) in the eurozone during 2010-11 was disconnected from underlying increases in the debt-to-GDP ratios and fiscal space variables, and was the result of negative self-fulfilling market sentiments that became very strong since the end of 2010. We argue that this can drive member countries of the eurozone into bad equilibria.
  • Topic: Economics, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Daniel Gros, Dirk Schoenmaker
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The eurozone is caught in a 'diabolical loop' in which weak domestic banking systems damage sovereign fiscal positions and conversely, in which risky sovereign positions disproportionately threaten domestic banking stability. A European-level banking system could go a long way towards breaking this unfortunate loop and stabilising the eurozone. This would require a European safety net for cross-border banks.
  • Topic: Economics, Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Paul De Grauwe, Yuemei Ji
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper analyzes two claims that have been made about the Target2 payment system. The first one is that this system has been used to support unsustainable current account deficits of Southern European countries. The second one is that the large accumulation of Target2 claims by the Bundesbank represents an unacceptable risk for Germany if the eurozone were to break up. We argue that these claims are unfounded. They also lead to unnecessary fears in Germany that make a solution of the eurozone crisis more difficult. Ultimately, this fear increases the risk of a break-up of the eurozone. Or to paraphrase Franklin Roosevelt, what Germany should fear most is simply its own fear.
  • Topic: Economics, Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Daniel Gros, Felix Roth
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper analyses public support for the euro in Germany. Drawing from the results of regular Eurobarometer surveys, it finds that the ongoing financial and sovereign debt crisis has reduced support for the euro among German citizens, but not dramatically so – at least not yet. In the 1990s, the German public was sceptical towards the euro. But since the introduction of euro banknotes and coins, a clear majority of citizens supports the euro – despite the financial and sovereign debt crisis. Moreover, on average, support for the euro is at a similar level in Germany as it is elsewhere in the euro area.
  • Topic: Economics, Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper describes the key economic variables and mechanisms that will determine the adjustment process in those euro area countries now under financial market pressure. (Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Italy = GIPSY) The key finding is that the adjustment will be particularly difficult for Greece (and Portugal) because these are two relatively closed economies with low savings rates. Both of these countries are facing a solvency problem because they combine high debt levels with low growth and high interest rates. Fiscal and external adjustment is thus required for sustainability, not just to satisfy the Stability Pact. By contrast, Ireland and Spain face more of a liquidity than a solvency problem. Italy seems to have a much better starting position on all accounts. Fiscal adjustment alone will not be sufficient to ensure sustainability. Without significant reductions in labour costs, these economies will face years of stagnation at best. Especially in the case of Greece, it is imperative that the cuts in public sector wages are transmitted to the entire economy in order to restore competitiveness, and thus ensure that export growth can become a vital safety valve. Without an adjustment of wages in the private sector, the adjustment will become so difficult that failure cannot be excluded.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Ireland
  • Author: Caterina Giannetti, Nicola Jentzsch, Giancarlo Spagnolo
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Asymmetries can severely limit the cross-border border expansion of banks, if entering banks can only obtain incomplete information about potential new clients. Such asymmetries are reduced by credit registers, which distribute financial data on bank clients. Asymmetrically distributed information and adversely selected pools of borrowers constitute severe barriers for foreign banks when they enter new markets. In many instances, these problems force banks to either form 'alliances with incumbents' or simply enter through mergers and acquisitions (M). Yet such entry modes do not automatically lead to intensified competition as they may leave the number of competitors unchanged. Thus, institutions that reduce information asymmetries in credit markets (thereby encouraging entry through branches) may be very important if the objective is strengthening competition in addition to market integration. Recently, these institutions – credit registers – have received greater attention among academics and policy-makers in Europe, although there is still a remarkable lack of understanding of their empirical impact on banking.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Felix Roth
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper analyses whether the financial crisis has affected citizens' confidence in the free market economy and whether it has triggered citizens' demand for a free market economy with stronger state regulations. Using panel data, the paper confirms that citizens' confidence levels in the free market economy have decreased in most of the largest economies and demand for a free market economy with stronger state regulation has increased on both sides of the Atlantic. After analysing the determinants for citizens' confidence in the free market economy and demand for a free market economy with stronger state regulation before and after the financial crisis, the author concludes that citizens' net confidence loss in the free market economy seems to have been driven by rising unemployment rates, and citizens' demand for stronger state regulation seems to have been driven by the real economic downturn in GDP growth.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Felix Roth, Anna-Elisabeth Thum
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Using new international comparable data on intangible capital investment by business within a panel analysis from 1995-2005 in an EU-15 country sample, we detect a positive and significant relationship between intangible capital investment by business and labour productivity growth. This relationship is cross-sectional in nature and proves to be robust to a range of alterations. Our empirical analysis confirms previous findings that the inclusion of business intangible capital investment into the asset boundary of the national accounting framework increases the rate of change of output per worker more rapidly. In addition, intangible capital is able to explain a significant portion of the unexplained international variance in labour productivity growth and when incorporating business intangibles, capital deepening becomes an even more significant source of growth. The relationship is slightly stronger in the time period 1995-2000 and seems to be driven by the coordinated countries within the EU-15.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Selen Sarisoy Guerin
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Several policy-relevant issues regarding the EU's bilateral investment treaties (BITS) are addressed in this paper. First and foremost, we explore the question of whether EU's BITs have a significantly positive impact on outflows or not. Second, we ask the question which member states and which BIT partners have had a significant experience after the implementation of the BIT. In our sample we find that both OECD BITs and EU BITs have a statistically significant and positive impact on FDI outflows. This result is robust to the inclusion of variables such as privatisation proceeds that control for the level of economic reform, the level of trade linkages, the level of democratic freedom and a measure of risk of expropriation among other standard controls. We control for endogeneity in our estimations by using the fixed-effects estimator as our preferred estimator on a large panel dataset. We also test the strict exogeneity of our results by using a method suggested by Baier and Bergstrand (2007) and we find no feedback effect in our sample.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Daniel Gros, Felix Roth
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Trust in the ECB, as measured by the standard Eurobarometer (and other) surveys has fallen to an unprecedented low – especially in the larger euro area countries. The authors find that up to the start of the recession in 2008, trust in the ECB was little affected by business cycle variables such as growth and inflation. This changed radically with the recession, with trust in the ECB becoming correlated quite closely with growth. However, even the recovery of growth in 2009 was not sufficient to restore trust in the ECB to previous levels. This finding implies that European citizens seem to have placed a heavy share of the blame on the European Central Bank for the real economic downturn caused by the financial crisis.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe