EconPol Policy Reports

Cover of EconPol Policy Report 32

Fiscal Policies during the Covid-19 Crisis in Austria - A Macroeconomic Assessment

Klaus Weyerstrass (EconPol Europe & IHS Vienna)

This EconPol Policy Report assesses the macroeconomic impact of fiscal policy measures introduced by the Austrian government during the Covid-19 crisis in 2020 and 2021. Large parts of the stimulus package aimed at stabilizing companies, employment and private households. According to the study short-term work schemes were particularly successful. Equally effective were measures supporting companies and the self-employed who were directly affected by the containment measures, e.g. liquidity support (fixed cost subsidies and loss compensations), tax reductions and tax deferrals. While support to private consumption generally is not the recommended fiscal policy reaction to a recession which is caused by government measures to restrict consumption possibilities, support to companies, employees and the self-employed who are affected by the closure of some businesses are appropriate, according to the study. At the same time, those companies that would have left the market anyway should not kept alive articifially, as this would hamper structural change. For the same reason, short-time work schemes should only be offered as long as the contaiment measures or other pandemic-related problems such as supply-chain disruptions prevail.

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Cover of EconPol Policy Report 31

Is There a Need for Reverse Mortgages in Germany? Empirical Evidence and Policy Implications

Florian Bartsch (Paris School of Economics), Florian Buhlmann (ZEW Mannheim), Karolin Kirschenmann (ZEW Mannheim), Carolin Schmidt (University of Cambridge)

In the face of shifting demographics capital-funded old-age provision is increasingly becoming important in many European countries. Generating sufficient capital for old-age provision, however, poses a challenge to private households. Homeowners can resort to illiquid housing wealth by using home reversion plans or reverse mort-gages. While reverse mortgages are common in the USA and the UK, a German market is quasi non-existent. This Policy Report provides evidence on the demand- and supply-side reasons for the absence of a reverse mortgage market in Germany. It finds that there is potential for the market to grow in the medium term and could benefit cash-poor but house-rich households, hence decreasing old-age poverty. While the analysis focuses on Germany, its implications are equally relevant for other European countries, in particular for those with higher homeownership rates and less generous public pension schemes.

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Cover of EconPol Policy Report 30

Covid-19 Pandemic: Challenges and a Way Forward

Panu Poutvaara, Madhinee Valeyatheepillay (EconPol Europe, ifo Institute, LMU Munich)

Sacrificing lives does not save the economy, according to this latest policy report from Panu Poutvaara and Madhinee Valeyatheepillay: countries that fail to suppress the pandemic risk a disastrous overburdening of their health care system and patients who could have been otherwise saved die. Short of an effective vaccine, no single measure is enough to stop the pandemic. Instead, societies need a combination of effective social distancing measures, careful hygiene, use of masks in indoor public spaces and contact tracing.

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Cover of EconPol Policy Report 29

The Sovereign-Bank Nexus: the Role of Debt and Monetary Policy

Hernán D. Seoane (EconPol Europe, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)

In this policy report, Hernán D. Seoane (EconPol Europe, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid) analyzes one aspect of the sovereign-bank nexus: the feedback effects between banks and sovereigns derived from the holdings of sovereign debt in domestic banks. He examines how this relationship evolved during the European debt crisis and how it responded to the implementation of ECB monetary policy based on Open Market Operations and Marginal Lending Facilities. He finds evidence of carry trade behavior by banks, with some evidence that this channel may have been boosted by the liquidity provision policies.

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Cover of EconPol Policy Report 28

The Insurance Properties of Common Debt Issuance

Daniel Gros (EconPol Europe, CEPS)

The cost of public debt increases more than proportionally with the debt/GDP ratio. This convexity has one immediate implication in the presence of uncertainty about growth: the average social cost of public debt is higher than the contractual debt service cost embedded in the interest rate. In this EconPol policy report, Daniel Gros explains how Common European debt, which is financed by a pro-rata levy on the output of member states, provides an insurance function because countries which grow less have to contribute less (and vice versa). This insurance function becomes more important the longer the horizon and thus the uncertainty about (relative) economic performance.

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