Current publications

Cover of EconPol Working Paper 46

The Size of Government

António Afonso (EconPol Europe, Universidade de Lisboa; REM/UECE), Ludger Schuknecht (OECD), Vito Tanzi (International Institute of Public Finance)

What government should do, how it should spend and how far it should intervene in the economy are the issues investigated by António Afonso (EconPol Europe, Universidade de Lisboa; REM/UECE), Ludger Schuknecht (OECD) and Vito Tanzi (International Institute of Public Finance) in this working paper. Taking a historical perspective, they assess the composition of public expenditure for advanced, emerging and developing countries and conclude that, while developing countries can struggle with providing well-functioning services, governments are increasingly demonstrating that progress is feasible.

 

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Robots and Mitigation of the Risk of Covid-19 Contagion in the Workplace: Some Evidence From Italy

Mauro Caselli, Andrea Fracasso, Silvio Traverso (EconPol Europe, Università di Trento)

When SARS-CoV-2 spread across the world, national authorities implemented novel and drastic measures to curb transmission. Social distancing was introduced to preserve public health and slow down the spread of Covid-19, while in the workplace many economic activities were temporarility discontinued. Robotization appears to present a potential trade-off between safety and employment in the workplace, but observers are concerned that it could create incentives to replace labour. Mauro Caselli, Andrea Fracasso and Silvio Traverso (EconPol Europe, Università di Trento) examine the issues facing policy makers in their task of designing a pandemic-proof economy.

 

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Cover of Policy Brief 31

The Impact of the COVID-19 Crisis on European Businesses: Evidence from Surveys in Austria, Germany and Spain

Raquel García (SIMPLE LÓGICA, Madrid), Christian Gayer (European Commission DG ECFIN), Werner Hölzl (WIFO - Austrian Institute of Economic Research, Vienna), Sergio Payo (Ministerio de Industria, Comercio y Turismo), Andreas Reuter (European Commission DG ECFIN), Klaus Wohlrabe (EconPol Europe, ifo Institute, CESifo)

A survey of German, Spanish and Austrian firms in the industry, services, retail trade and construction sectors finds that the overwhelming majority expect a negative impact of the corona-crisis on annual turnover (to the tune of 20% in Germany and Austria and 25-44% in Spain). The sub-sectors hardest hit are manufacturing of consumer durables and investment goods, services in the field of tourism and gastronomy and retailers selling neither food nor beverages. If confinement measures aren't lifted or countered by appropriate policy support, say the survey's authors Raquel García (SIMPLE LÓGICA, Madrid), Christian Gayer (European Commission DG ECFIN), Werner Hölzl (WIFO - Austrian Institute of Economic Research, Vienna), Sergio Payo (Ministerio de Industria, Comercio y Turismo), Andreas Reuter (European Commission DG ECFIN) and Klaus Wohlrabe (EconPol Europe, ifo Institute, CESifo), the prevailing confinement measures will cause insolvencies or bankruptcies of 30-50% of all businesses by the end of July, rising to 50-80% by October.

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Cover of EconPol Policy Brief 30

European Banks and the Covid-19 Crash Test

Jézabel Couppey-Soubeyran (EconPol Europe, University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, CEPII), Erica Perego (EconPol Europe, CEPII), Fabien Tripier (EconPol Europe, Université Paris-Saclay (Univ. Evry), CEPII)

The Covid-19 crisis is not a financial crisis but it can become a serious test for European banks’ strength and resilience: they are stronger today than they were on the eve of the 2007-2008 financial crisis, however the Covid-19 shock more closely resembles the Great Depression of the 1930s. This policy brief from Jézabel Couppey-Soubeyran (EconPol Europe, University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, CEPII), Erica Perego (EconPol Europe, CEPII) and Fabien Tripier (EconPol Europe, Université Paris-Saclay (Univ. Evry), CEPII) presents the problems that the Covid-19 crisis poses to banks, the proposals currently under discussion and the decisions taken to date by the monetary and prudential authorities. It highlights the fragility of the current prudential framework and the inadequacy of the resolution mechanism, which will require additional resources if the banking crisis cannot be avoided.

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Covid-19 Throws Us Into an Unprecedented Debt Crisis, But It’s One We Can Rise From

Stefano Schiavo (EconPol Europe, Università di Trento)

The road to recovery is long and winding, says Stefano Schiavo (EconPol Europe, Università di Trento) but it's one we have to take: exceptional measures are needed to exit the economic crisis triggered by the coronavirus, which will see national governments at the forefront of business support and demand stimulation plans.This will lead to a sharp increase in public debt of dimensions never seen in the post-war period, but it's crucial to direct public spending towards initiatives that generate growth and contribute to solving future problems.

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Cover of EconPol Policy Brief 29

If the Objective is Herd Immunity, on Whom Should it be Built?

Christian Gollier, (EconPol Europe, Toulouse School of Economics, University of Toulouse-Capitole)

In the absence of a treatment or vaccine, there are two options available for managing Covid-19: long confinement of a large proportion of the population and the associated economic costs (Plan A), or to progressively build herd immunity by exposing the population to the virus (Plan B). But attaining herd immunity requires governments to expose a fraction of the population to the virus, and to recognize that some people in this targeted population will die. Christian Gollier (EconPol Europe, Toulouse School of Economics, University of Toulouse-Capitole) uses standardized guidelines to identify ‘optimal’ herd immunity policies but warns that the moral concerns related to such a policy would go against several decades of policy evaluation practice.

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Crises, Immigration and the Labor Market: Learning from Past Mistakes

Anthony Edo and Camilo Umana (EconPol Europe, CEPII)

Periods of crisis increase xenophobic outbursts and anti-immigrant sentiments, which can lead policy makers to target migrant workers in the hope of quickly restoring labor demand for natives - particularly when health crises are the root cause. But curbing the rise of unemployment by restricting access to the labor market and encouraging the departure of foreign workers is ineffective. In times of crisis, macroeconomic policies to stabilize economic activity and stimulate recovery are crucial to stop the rise in unemployment.

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Cover of EconPol Policy Brief 28

Covid-19: Has the Time Come for Mainstream Macroeconomics to Rehabilitate Money Printing?

Axelle Arquié (EconPol Europe, CEPII), Jérôme Héricourt (EconPol Europe, Université de Lille & CEPII) and Fabien Tripier (EconPol Europe, Université Paris-Saclay (Evry) & CEPII)

The expenditure necessary to avoid the Covid-19 health crisis turning into a long-lasting deep recession is enormous and raises the issue of how it should be financed: through new debt, or monetization? Monetization - defined as the financing of public expenditure through money creation by the central bank without being reimbursed by the government - has long been rejected by mainstream macroeconomics. This policy brief analyzes in detail some recent theoretical arguments of mainstream macroeconomics to rehabilitate monetization. The authors suggest policy makers consider monetization to finance Covid-19 related spending in the current macroeconomics context, combining secular stagnation features and a very high stock of public debt. In the specific context of the Euro area, monetization raises important political issues.

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Cover of EconPol Working Paper 45

Labor Productivity in State-Owned Enterprises

António Afonso (EconPol Europe, Universidade de Lisboa; REM/UECE), Maria João Guedes(Universidade de Lisboa; Advance/CSG), Pankaj C. Patel (Villanova University, Villanova School of Business)

Between 2013 and 2015, in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, the Portuguese government revoked four holidays for public and private employees - but the revocation seems to have served little economic purpose and been no more than a ceremonial gesture. In this paper, authors António Afonso (EconPol Europe, Universidade de Lisboa; REM/UECE), Maria João Guedes (Universidade de Lisboa; Advance/CSG), Pankaj C. Patel (Villanova University, Villanova School of Business) show that revocation of the holidays did not impact labor productivity for either central or local and regional government managed state owned enterprises.

 

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Cover of EconPol Policy Brief 27

COVID-19: The World Economy Needs a Lifeline – But Which One?

Dorine Boumans, Sebastian Link and Stefan Sauer (EconPol Europe, ifo Institute)

This paper from Dorine Boumans, Sebastian Link and Stefan Sauer (EconPol Europe, ifo Institute) presents the results of a survey of 1000 economic experts in 110 countries on the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the effectiveness of different policy measures to combat the crisis for different countries. The results indicate that economies all around the globe are severely hit by the COVID-19 crisis. The experts perceive the reductions in investment to have the strongest impact on their domestic economies. In consequence, the experts expect a severe recession in almost all countries in 2020, followed by a long period of economic recovery. The experts rate emergency liquidity assistance to firms as well as temporary tax deferrals for businesses as the most effective policy measures, but do not regard other responses such as helicopter money or lenient bank supervision as being well suited to combat the crisis. 

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