Current publications

Cover of EconPol Working Paper 26

Your Vote is (no) Secret! How Low Voter Density Harms Voter Anonymity and Biases Elections in Italy

Mauro Caselli, Paolo Falco

The density of voters in polling regions limits the secrecy of voting and can affect the outcome of Italian elections, with the same impact on countries with a similar voting mechanism. In the first study to analyze the link between voter density and election bias, authors Mauro Caselli (University of Trento) and Paolo Falco (University of Copenhagen) examined all municipal elections conducted in Italy from 1989 to 2015. They found that lower voter density significantly increases the probability of re-election for an incumbent in a municipal office, while in areas with a higher number of voters the probability of re-election for an incumbent falls.

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Cover of EconPol Opinions

Public Debt and the Risk Premium: A Dangerous Doom Loop

Cinzia Alcidi, Daniel Gros

The view that deficits and higher public debt can be beneficial received an important boost via Olivier Blanchard’s 2019 presidential address at the American Economic Association (Blanchard 2019). In this opinion piece, which first appeared on VoxEU, Cinzia Alcidi and Daniel Gros examine Blanchard’s analysis and the longer-term link between risk premia and public finances.

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Cover of EconPol Opinions

Is Proportional Representation a Cure for Democratic Discontent?

Michael Becher

Public dissatisfaction with politicians and representative democracy is widespread in Europe and should not be taken lightly. The enduring protest of the ‘Yellow Vests’ in France is just one prominent example of the popular view that elections regularly fail to select governments that are reliably responsive to the preferences of a large part of the population. EconPol researcher Michael Becher (IAST) says resolving this dilemma requires a value judgement. 

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How Serious Politics Must Counter Populism

Clemens Fuest

EconPol’s speaker Clemens Fuest says moderate politicians should compete with populists by offering realistic perspectives, and suggests Emmanuel Macron can serve as a role model in that regard. He also suggests that politics in Europe would benefit from putting in more effort to explain complex economic policy problems and pointing out where government action reaches its limits.

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Cover of EconPol Policy Report 15

Sectoral Reallocations, Real Estate Shocks and Productivity Divergence in Europe: a Tale of Three Countries

Thomas Grjebine, Jérôme Héricourt, Fabien Tripier

The creation of the European Monetary Union (EMU) in 1999 was expected to become a catalyst for real convergence in Europe. However, the authors of this policy report find that real divergence actually increased from the early 1990s, as evidenced by low productivity growth in the "periphery" of the Euro area relative to "core" countries. The report investigates the role of sectoral reallocation in this divergence, focusing on three archetypal countries: France, Germany, and Spain.

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Cover of EconPol Working Paper 25

Taxation and Public Spending Efficiency: An International Comparison

António Afonso, João Tovar Jalles, Ana Venâncio

This EconPol paper evaluates the relevance of the taxation for public spending efficiency in a sample of OECD economies in the period 2003-2017. It finds that inputs could be theoretically lower by approximately 32-34%; the Malmquist indices show an overall decrease in technology and in TFP. Crucial for policymaking, the authors find that expenditure efficiency is negatively associated with taxation, more specifically direct and indirect taxes negatively affect government efficiency performance. The same is true for social security contributions.

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Cover of EconPol Opinions

Majority Voting on Taxation Could Prove Explosive for European Integration

Friedrich Heinemann

The unanimity requirement for EU legislation on taxation in the Council has come under attack. Early this year, the European Commission launched an initiative to introduce majority voting for tax-policy decisions. Friedrich Heinemann analyses the arguments of the Commission and finds criticism unconvincing and misleading in this EconPol opinion.

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Intra-EU labour mobility: From too little to too much?

Cinzia Alcidi and Daniel Gros

Freedom of movement of workers is one of the fundamental ‘four freedoms’ of the European Union and has been in force for decades.  Economists have long considered that labour mobility is too low in EU, but this is changing as more and more EU citizens move to other Member States to work. Cinzia Alcidi and Daniel Gros examine the factors that have driven the growth in intra-EU labour mobility in this latest EconPol opinion.

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Cover of EconPol Policy Report 14

The Surprising Sluggishness of French Exports: Reviewing Competitiveness and its Determinants

Charlotte Emlinger, Sébastien Jean, Vincent Vicard

The large deterioration in France’s current account balance during the euro’s first decade was mainly due to its poor export performances. Although there have been no more market share losses since 2012, French export growth lags behind that of our European partners. This EconPol policy report examines the continuing sluggishness of France’s trade performances over recent years, marked in particular by its surprising inability to make any significant and lasting reduction in the trade deficit or regain back lost market shares.

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Cover of EconPol Policy Brief 17

Macroprudential Measures and Taxation in the Housing Markets

Essi Eerola

The recent financial crisis and subsequent global recession have been followed by a wave of macroprudential measures in the housing market. At the same time, governments have a long tradition of conducting tax policies which encourage households to acquire owner-housing. These tax advantages may be at least partly responsible for the need to regulate borrowing. In terms of policy, the goal should be to identify instruments that reduce the negative effects of household leverage while minimizing the welfare costs to households. This EconPol policy brief examines the joint effects of the tax system and credit regulation.

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