EconPol Policy Briefs

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The Weakness of the German Car Industry and its Sectoral and Global Impacts

João Leal, Robert Lehmann, Bertrand Marc, Timo Wollmershäuser, Przemyslaw Wozniak

Industrial production in the German car industry dropped by 9.4% in the third quarter of 2018, creating an immediate impact on its main trading partners and causing global and sectoral losses. The decline is mainly due to problems with the implementation of the new Worldwide Harmonized Light-Duty Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP). As the car producing industry is the most important sector for the German economy and is deeply integrated into international value-added chains, this policy report presents estimated sectoral and
global impacts due to this sharp drop. 

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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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Applying nominal expenditure rules in the euro area

Clemens Fuest and Daniel Gros

In the debate on euro area fiscal governance, the current deficit rules of the EU have repeatedly been criticised to have a pro-cyclical effect, leading to overly lax fiscal policies in good times and a too restrictive regime in bad times. An analysis by EconPol researchers Clemens Fuest (ifo) and Daniel Gros (CEPS) shows that most major EU countries are over-spending at a level not compatible with spending rules for sustainable public finances.

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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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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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