France’s RSA income support: 35% lack of take-up?

By Guillaume Allègre, @g_allegre

The lack of take-up of France’s RSA income supplement benefit is often invoked as an argument for reforming the system for assisting people on low incomes (such as a Universal Income or establishment of a single social benefit that would merge the RSA, the in-work Prime d’activité benefit and Housing benefit). According to the CNAF, the lack of take-up of the base RSA benefit (RSA-socle) is 36% (CNAF, 2012). To arrive at this estimate, the CNAF relies on a quantitative survey conducted over the phone with 15,000 households selected from their tax returns. Continue reading “France’s RSA income support: 35% lack of take-up?”

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Italy: The horizon seems to be clearing

By Céline Antonin

With growth in Italy of 0.4% in the third quarter of 2017 (see table below), the country’s economy seems to have recovered and is benefiting from the more general recovery in the euro zone as a whole. The improvement in growth is linked to several factors: first, the continued closing of the output gap, which had worsened sharply after a double recession (2008-2009 and 2012-2013). In addition, the expansionary fiscal policy in 2017 (+0.3 fiscal impulse), mainly targeted at businesses, and thriving consumption driven by expanding employment and rising wages explain this good performance. The increase in employment is the result of the reduction in social contributions that began in 2015 as well as the pick-up in growth in 2016 and 2017. Continue reading “Italy: The horizon seems to be clearing”

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The euro zone: A general recovery

By Christophe Blot

This text is based on the 2017-2019 outlook for the global economy and the euro zone, a full version of which is available here.

The euro zone has returned to growth since mid-2013, after having experienced two crises (the financial crisis and the sovereign debt crisis) that led to two recessions: in 2008-2009 and 2011-2013. According to Eurostat, growth accelerated during the third quarter of 2017 and reached 2.6% year-on-year (0.6% quarter-on-quarter), its highest level since the first quarter of 2011 (2.9%). Beyond the performance of the euro zone as a whole, the current situation is marked by the generalization of the recovery to all the euro zone countries, which was not the case in the previous phase of recovery in 2010-2011. Fears about the sustainability of the debt of the so-called peripheral countries were already being reflected in a sharp fall in GDP in Greece and the gradual slide into recession of Portugal, Spain and a little later Italy. Continue reading “The euro zone: A general recovery”

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What role for central bank balance sheets in the conduct of monetary policy?

By Christophe BlotJérôme Creel and Paul Hubert

By adjusting the size and composition of their balance sheets, the central banks have profoundly changed their monetary policy strategy. Although the implementation of these measures was initially envisaged for a period of crisis, questions are now arising about the use of the balance sheet as an instrument of monetary policy outside periods of crisis. Continue reading “What role for central bank balance sheets in the conduct of monetary policy?”

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Short-term contracts: Not all taxes are the same

By Bruno Coquet, OFCE and IZA

Short-term contracts are useful for the proper functioning of an economy, but in France their expansion, together with shortening contract periods (Figure 1), is costing economic agents as a whole dearly, while the minority of companies that make extensive use of these is bearing only a marginal fraction of the costs. Continue reading “Short-term contracts: Not all taxes are the same”

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Brexit: Pulling off a success?

By Catherine Mathieu and Henri Sterdyniak

Will the EU summit of 14-15 December 2017 usher in a new phase of negotiations on the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union?

British Prime Minister Theresa May wants to make Brexit a success and to arrange a special partnership between the UK and the EU, a tailor-made partnership that would allow trade and finance to continue with minimal friction after the UK leaves the EU, while restoring the UK’s national sovereignty, in particular by regaining the ability to limit the immigration of workers from the EU and by no longer being subject to the European Union Court of Justice (EUCJ). For the EU-27 countries, on the contrary, it must be made clear that leaving the EU incurs a significant economic cost, with no significant budgetary gain, that those who leave must continue to accept a major share of European rules and that they cannot claim the benefits of the single market without bearing the costs. Other Member States should not be tempted to follow the British example. Continue reading “Brexit: Pulling off a success?”

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OPEC meeting: Much ado about nothing?

par Céline Antonin

On 30 November 2017, OPEC members decided on a nine-month extension of their 2016 agreement on production caps with country quotas, i.e. until December 2018. Other producing countries associated with the agreement, led by Russia, decided to continue their cooperation by also extending their agreement on production cuts. Continue reading “OPEC meeting: Much ado about nothing?”

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Labour force participation rates and working time: differentiated adjustments

By Bruno Ducoudré and Pierre Madec

In the course of the crisis, most European countries reduced actual working time to a greater or lesser extent by making use of partial unemployment schemes, the reduction of overtime or the use of time savings accounts, but also through the expansion of part-time work (particularly in Italy and Spain), including involuntary part-time work. In contrast, the favourable trend in US unemployment is explained in part by a significant fall in the participation rate. Continue reading “Labour force participation rates and working time: differentiated adjustments”

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European unemployment insurance

By Léo Aparisi de Lannoy and Xavier Ragot

The return of growth cannot eradicate the memory of how the crisis was mismanaged at the European level economically, but also socially and politically. The divergences between euro area countries in unemployment rates, current account balances and public debts are at levels unprecedented for decades. New steps in European governance must aim for greater economic efficiency in reducing unemployment and inequalities while explaining and justifying the financial and political importance of these measures in order to render them compatible with national policy choices. The establishment of a European unemployment insurance meets these criteria. Continue reading “European unemployment insurance”

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A new Great Moderation?

by Analysis and Forecasting Department

This text summarizes the OFCE’s 2017-2019 forecast for the global economy and the euro zone; the full version can be found here.

Ten years after the financial crisis broke out in the summer of 2007, the world economy finally seems to be embarking on a trajectory of more solid growth in both the industrialized and most of the emerging countries. The figures for the first half of 2017 indicate that global growth is accelerating, which should result in GDP growth of 3.3% over the year as a whole, up 0.3 percentage point over the previous year. Some uncertainty remains, of course, in particular concerning the outcome of Brexit and the ability of the Chinese authorities to control their economic slowdown, but these are the types of irreducible uncertainties characteristic of an economic system that is subject to political, technological, economic and financial shocks[1]. Continue reading “A new Great Moderation?”

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