Current publications

Cover of EconPol Policy Brief 16

Government debt in times of low interest rates: the case of Europe

Clemens Fuest and Daniel Gros

In this paper we discuss to what extent the declining difference between interest rates and growth rates (r-g) pointed out recently by Olivier Blanchard (2019) for the case of the US also characterizes the economic situation in Europe. We show that r-g has been positive on average but declining over the last decades in Europe as well. But r-g differs across considerably across European countries, and a continuation of current fiscal policies even under existing conditions would increase the debt ratios further in some countries. We conclude that the current low levels of r-g should be used to make progress in fiscal consolidation in countries with high debt levels. At the same time it would be desirable to benefit from the currently low interest rates to boost one time investment projects.

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Cover of EconPol Working Paper 22

The effects of macroeconomic, fiscal and monetary policy announcements on sovereign bond spreads: an event study from the EMU

António Afonso, João Tovar Jalles, Mina Kazemi

In this EconPol working paper, the authors assess the impact of announcements corresponding to different fiscal and monetary policy measures on 10-year sovereign bond yield spreads. They find that the European Commission’s releases of excessive deficit procedure have a significant impact on the yield spreads. EC releases of higher debt and better budget balance forecasts contribute to the rise and decline of spreads, respectively.

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Cover of EconPol Working Paper 21

On the political feasibility of increasing the legal retirement age

Benjamin Bittschi and Berthold U. Wigger

Increasing the legal retirement age is politically feasible if policy contains the generosity of public pensions, conclude the authors of this EconPol working paper. After establishing three hypotheses within a politico-economic model and employing micro data for Germany, they demonstrate that a one percentage point increase in the share of the elderly increases the legal retirement age by 0.3 to 0.5 years, and that a 10 percentage point increase in the replacement rate reduces the legal retirement age by 0.5 to 3 years.

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Cover of EconPol Opinions

Activism pressure and the market for corporate assets

Ulrich Hege and Yifei Zhang

Does activism affect the acquisition and asset sale decisions of firms that are only indirectly affected by activists? Has activism grown sufficiently in importance that it influences the equilibrium in corporate asset markets, and what is its impact on the liquidity and efficiency of these markets? These are the questions posed by EconPol researcher Ulrich Hege and his co-author Yifei Zhang in this EconPol opinion examining the rise of shareholder activism and its international expansion.

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Cover of EconPol Policy Brief 14

Incentivising structural reforms in Europe?

A blueprint for the European Commission’s Reform Support Programme

Mathias Dolls, Clemens Fuest, Carla Krolage, Florian Neumeier, Daniel Stöhlker

How can a faster implementation of structural reforms fostering the process of economic convergence in Europe be achieved? In our latest policy brief, EconPol researchers discuss the rationale and potential adverse effects of providing financial incentives for structural reforms and present a proposal of national convergence roadmaps. Although these proposals deviate from the Commission proposal in some key dimensions, they reflect the fact that ensuring progress towards convergence targets is primarily a responsibility of the individual member states - not of the EU or European institutions and bodies like the European Commission and the Eurogroup.

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Cover EEAG Report 2019

EEAG Report on the European Economy 2019: A Fragmenting Europe in a Changing World

Andersen, Torben M., Giuseppe Bertola, John Driffill, Clemens Fuest, Harold James, Jan-Egbert Sturm and Branko Uroševic

Europe is becoming increasingly similar to the late Habsburg Empire, a powerful example of fragmentation and tendencies towards disintegration arising in multinational, multi-linguistic, and multi-ethnic integrated economic entities. To understand why and what the consequences may be, this year’s report by the European Economic Advisory Group (EEAG) at CESifo looks inside EU member states, where much besides European integration has been happening, and outside Europe, where powerful economic and geopolitical challenges have shaken many European countries and sectors.

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Cover of EconPol Policy Brief 13

Trump’s trade attack on China – who laughs last?

Gabriel Felbermayr and Marina Steininger

A modern general equilibrium trade model to simulate the effects of the Chinese-American trade dispute finds that both economies lose, but China loses absolutely and relatively much more. In our latest policy brief, the authors analyse the potential impacts of an escalating trade war and find that while the bilateral tade balance of the US with China improves, it deteriorates with the EU and forebodes further transatlantic conflict.

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Cover of EconPol Opinions

The death of the European Banking Union

Timo Wollmershäuser

In July 2017, Louis Rouanet argued that the bail out of two Italian banks, Veneto Banca and Banca Popolare di Vicenza, would be a ‘deathblow to the European Banking Union’. EconPol researcher Timo Wollmershäuser agrees, and says the correlation between risk premia for sovereigns and banks has since sharply increased to the high levels observed before the start of the Banking Union.

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Cover of EconPol Working Paper 20

Stock flow adjustments in sovereign debt dynamics: the role of fiscal frameworks

António Afonso and João Tovar Jalles

We assess, via system GMM, how Stock Flow Adjustments (SFA) affect the debt-to-GDP ratio in 65 countries (covering developed and emerging and low-income countries) between1985-2014. We find that SFAs positively contribute to the change in the debt-to-GDP ratio with a coefficient close to one. The existence of fiscal rules with monitor compliance contributes to lower the debt level. The fall in the debt ratio due to fiscal rules before the crisis was between 1.7%-4.2% of GDP while after the crisis, revenue and debt-based rules did not contribute to the reduction of debt, which was reinforced with large SFAs.

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Cover of EconPol Policy Brief 12

Hard Brexit ahead: breaking the deadlock

Gabriel J. Felbermayr, Clemens Fuest, Hans Gersbach, Albrecht O. Ritschl, Marcel Thum and Martin T. Braml

With negotiations between the EU and UK reaching deadlock, the only way forward seems to be a hard Brexit. In this policy brief, the authors suggest a model which will avoid a ‘no deal’ scenario and find that a minimum three-month extension is necessary in order to establish a European Customs Association.

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