EconPol Forum

EconPol Forum (formerly CESifo Forum) is a bi-monthly English-language journal to bring economic analysis on topics of worldwide interest along with policy advice to a broad range of policymakers and the public.

In September 2022 the CESifo Forum was restructured into four sections under the new EconPol brand. The first, Policy Debate of the Hour, recognizes the constantly evolving nature of policy challenges, focusing on the most pressing issues of the times. Leading researchers are invited to share their insights and policy conclusions. The Economic Policy and its Impact section assesses economic policies and develops robust evidence for their optimal design and implementation. In the Institutions Across the World section, contributors focus on the key role that institutional design plays in shaping socio-economic outcomes, often by comparing institutions across economic and political systems. Finally, Big Data-Based Economic Insights presents articles that glean economic policy advice from the exploitation of large, complex datasets.

Pandemics, Payments and Fiscal Policy: Lessons from Four Years after the Outbreak of Covid-19


Gerome Wolf

The outbreak of an unprecedented global health crisis about four years ago put the very foundations of our communities, economies and politics to the test. Policymakers had to learn and react fast to limit human and economic costs at the same time. This article highlights the importance of existing markets, technological features such as payments systems and economic decisions at the transactional level in combating the spread of a contagious disease while stabilizing aggregate economic activity.

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A World Unprepared: Missing Skills for Development


Sarah Gust, Eric A. Hanushek and Ludger Woessmann

How far away is the world from ensuring that every child obtains at least basic skills? And what would it mean for world development to reach the goal of global universal basic skills? This article addresses these two intertwined questions in a new study. The authors draw on the individual-level test data from available international and regional student assessments to develop world estimates of the share of children not achieving basic skills in each country and then show the economic costs of these deficits.

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Semantic Shifts in EU Competition Law: A Data-driven Study of Policy Goals


Anselm Küsters

Since its inception, European competition law has been a battleground for different interpretations and ideologies. As a result, concepts ranging from market integration and individual freedom to socially optimal market structures have constantly vied for influence alongside efficiency-oriented arguments reminiscent of the Chicago School. This tapestry of ideas underscores the multifaceted nature of competition policy – a policy that is inextricably linked to the specific “DNA” of its legal regime and its hierarchy of policy goals. In order to dissect and understand this DNA for the European case, this article uses natural language processing (NLP), also known as text mining, to examine over 11,000 EU competition law decisions and judgments from 1961 to 2021.

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Economic Causes for the Rise of Populist and Nationalist Movements

Florian Dorn, David Gstrein and Florian Neumeier

In recent years, radical right-wing political groups and populist movements have strongly gained popularity in many Western democracies. The presidency of Donald Trump and the increasing political polarization in the US, the Brexit vote in the UK, as well as the electoral successes of nationalist parties in many Western countries – such as the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) in Germany, Rassemblement National in France, the Sweden Democrats, or the Movimento 5 Stelle, Lega, or Fratelli d’Italia in Italy – serve as evidence of this trend. One of the key features of many of these movements is an anti-establishment, anti-immigration, and anti-globalization rhetoric. In this article, we summarize the existing literature studying the extent to which economic causes contribute to the rise in populism.

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BRICS Enlargement – What Are the Geoeconomic Implications?

Alicia Garcia Herrero, Mark N. Katz, Pádraig Carmody, Günther Maihold, Isabella Gourevich, Dorothee Hillrichs and Camille Semelet

In January 2024, five politically and economically heterogeneous countries ‒ Saudi Arabia, Iran, Ethiopia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates ‒ joined the BRICS. The BRICS+ countries now represent around 45 percent of the world’s population and around a third of global GDP. The BRICS were originally founded as an economic alternative to the Western bloc led by the USA and the EU. The idea was to offer the countries of the Global South a counterweight to Western institutions. The current change in the geopolitical and geoeconomic framework has driven the expansion of the BRICS. And it will also play an important role in shaping the international order of tomorrow.

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