EconPol Policy Briefs

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EU27 and the UK: Product Dependencies and the Implications of Brexit

Lisandra Flach (EconPol Europe, LMU Munich and ifo Institute), Feodora Teti (EconPol Europe, LMU Munich and ifo Institute), Lena Wiest (EconPol Europe, University of Tübingen and ifo Institute) and Margherita Atzei (EconPol Europe, University of St. Gallen and ifo Institute)

The decision of the UK to leave the EU imposes a key challenge for trade relations and, depending on the outcome of the ongoing Brexit negotiations, will cause severe increases in bilateral trade costs. The experience from former crises has shown that disruptions caused by negative shocks are more severe in case of highly dependent goods, which are sourced from few suppliers. This report provides an overview on product dependencies between EU27 and the UK and uncovers several stylized facts. It shows that, whereas for most of the EU27 countries less than 10% of the highly dependent goods are sourced from the UK, the majority of UK’s imports of highly dependent goods are sourced from countries in the EU27. However, for both, the UK and the EU27, Brexit imposes challenges for supply chains, as in both cases most of these goods are classified as intermediate goods, which are used as input for final production in the destination country. For those goods, uncertainty and rising costs due to Brexit may cause an additional distress on supply chains.

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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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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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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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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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