EconPol Working Paper Series

Cover of EconPol Working Paper 58

Robots at Work? Pitfalls of Industry Level Data

Karim Bekhtiar, Benjamin Bittschi, Richard Sellner (EconPol Europe, Institute for Advanced Studies [IHS], Vienna)

An analysis of data from the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), currently the most widely used data on the economic effects of robotization, has found that robotization has significantly lower productivity effects than previously assumed and may cause falling wages. Authors Karim Bekhtiar, Benjamin Bittschi and Richard Sellner (EconPol Europe, IHS Vienna) claim that using the data can be misleading if information on sectors that are either unaffected by or only marginally exposed to robotization is combined with those which are heavily affected, such as manufacturing.The study also rejects previous research findings that the technology causes skill-biased technological change and instead finds the opposite to be true.

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Cover EconPol Working Paper 57

The Role of Fiscal Policies for External Imbalances: Evidence from the European Union

António Afonso and José Carlos Coelho (EconPol Europe, ISEG - Lisbon School of Economics & Management, Universidade de Lisboa; REM/UECE)

This research from António Afonso and José Carlos Coelho studies the existence of a causal relationship between the general government balance and the current account balance (assessed as a percentage of GDP) for 28 European Union countries, using annual data for 1996 to 2019. They find that an increase in budget deficit of 1 pp of GDP results in a deterioration of the current account deficit of 0.318 pp of GDP, which supports the Twin Deficits Hypothesis.

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Cover of EconPol Working Paper 56

The Global Economic Impact of Politicians: Evidence from an International Survey RCT

Dorine Boumans (EconPol Europe, ifo Institute), Klaus Gründler (EconPol Europe, ifo Insitute, University of Munich [LMU], CESifo), Niklas Potrafke (EconPol Europe, ifo Insitute, University of Munich [LMU], CESifo), Fabian Ruthardt (EconPol Europe, ifo Insitute, University of Munich [LMU])

A large-scale RCT survey of 843 experts in 107 countries examined how the US president influences economic expectations of international experts, including GDP growth, unemployment, inflation and trade in their country. The results show that the election of Joe Biden increased growth expectations of international experts by 0.98 percentage points for the year 2021, that treatment effects materialize only in the short-run and experts’ uncertainty increased after the election. The results suggest that exceptional politicians influence global economic outcomes.

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Cover of EconPol Working Paper 55

(Non-)Keynesian Effects of Fiscal Austerity: New Evidence from a Large Sample

António Afonso, José Alves, João Tovar Jalles

Using a large sample of 174 countries between 1970 and 2018, authors empirically assess whether a usually expected negative response of private consumption and private investment to a fiscal consolidation is reversed. They find that increases in government consumption have a Keynesian effect on real per capita private consumption; there is a positive effect of tax increases on private consumption when there is a fiscal consolidation; there is a crowding-in effect for private investment, from fiscal contractions; expansionary fiscal consolidations occur particularly in highly indebted advanced economies following an increase in taxes. The negative effect of taxation on private consumption is larger when an economy is experiencing a financial crisis, but it is not consolidating.

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Cover of EconPol Working Paper 54

International Transmission of Interest Rates: The Role of International Reserves and Sovereign Debt

António Afonso (EconPol Europe, ISEG – School of Economics and Management, Universidade de Lisboa; REM – Research in Economics and Mathematics, UECE), Florence Huart (University of Lille, LEM), João Tovar Jalles (EconPol Europe, ISEG – School of Economics and Management, Universidade de Lisboa; REM – Research in Economics and Mathematics, UECE), Piotr Stanek (Cracow University of Economics)

In this study of the determinants of international transmission of interest rates with a special emphasis on the role of international reserves and government debt, authors confirm that the trilemma still holds. They find significant spillovers from the U.S. interest rates to other countries, mostly for Advanced Economies; a dampening effect of the share of external liabilities in the domestic currency; a negative effect of international reserves on interest rates; higher reserves decrease risk premia for long-term interest rates; the significance of spillovers fades once the sovereign debt reaches 100% of GDP in developed countries.

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