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Labour market reform in Italy: Matteo Renzi up against the wall

By Céline Antonin

While Matteo Renzi had enjoyed a relative “state of grace” since his election in February 2014, the Senate vote in early December on the hotly disputed reform of the labour market (the Jobs Act) has led to a general strike, a first since he took office. Is this the end of Matteo Renzi’s honeymoon with the Italian people? Although his ascension to power had sparked a wave of hope, the initial results have been disappointing. The reforms are going down poorly as Italy experiences its third consecutive year of recession (-0.2% growth forecast in 2014), and the country is facing criticism from the European Commission for its inability to reduce its structural deficit. This reform is inspired by a free market approach and aims to introduce a flexi-security system. The measure that is the particular focus of passion would remove Article 18 of the Labour Code, which allows reinstatement in the case of unfair dismissal. suite…»

Some reflections on the ECB’s Comprehensive Assessment

Mauro Napoletano[1] and Stefano Battiston[2]

(Ce texte n’est pas publié en français)

The European Central Bank (ECB) officially released the results of its Comprehensive Assessments of euro area banks on October 26th, thus making a very important step towards the creation of the European Banking Union. The ECB exercise unveiled the global robustness of the euro area banking sector despite the bumpy week financial markets had after its release. On the one hand, most banks hit by important financial shocks and affected by privately and publicly funded re-capitalization efforts (as in Spain) passed the stress test hurdle. On the other hand, fragilities were identified only in few countries (notably Italy, Greece and Portugal) and were basically the result of balance-sheet problems in some big institutes therein (e.g. Monte dei Paschi di Siena in Italy). One may nonetheless wonder whether the above picture of global stability, emerging from the results of the ECB assessment, is well-founded, and whether the methods used by the ECB, and the consequent re-capitalization efforts required, will be sufficient to insulate the Euro Area financial systems from financial meltdowns like the one of 2008/2009. suite…»

Banking Europe: Strength in the Union?

By Céline Antonin and Vincent Touzé

On 4 November 2014, the European Central Bank became the single supervisor of banks in the euro zone. This was the first step in the banking union.

The economic and financial crisis that started in 2007 has exposed several European weaknesses: suite…»

Europe bancaire : l’Union fait-elle la force ?

par Céline Antonin et Vincent Touzé

Depuis le 4 novembre 2014, la Banque centrale européenne est devenue le superviseur unique des banques de la zone euro. Il s’agit de la première étape de l’Union bancaire.

La crise économique et financière, qui a débuté en 2007, a révélé des fragilités européennes suite…»

Reprise avortée

Christophe Blot

Ce texte renvoie à l’article « Le piège de la déflation : perspectives 2014-2015 pour l’économie mondiale » rédigé par Céline Antonin, Christophe Blot, Amel Falah, Sabine Le Bayon, Hervé Péléraux, Christine Rifflart et Xavier Timbeau.

Selon le communiqué d’Eurostat publié le 14 novembre 2014, la croissance du PIB de la zone euro s’élève à 0,2 % au troisième trimestre 2014. Dans le même temps, l’inflation s’est stabilisée en octobre au niveau très faible de 0,4 %. Bien que les perspectives d’une nouvelle récession soient écartées pour l’instant, le FMI évalue en effet la probabilité de récession dans la zone euro entre 35 et 40 %. Ces mauvais chiffres reflètent l’absence de reprise dans la zone euro et ne permettent donc pas une décrue rapide du chômage. Quels enseignements pouvons-nous en tirer ? suite…»

A propos du marché du travail américain

Une lecture de : The causes of structural unemployment, Thomas Janoski, David Luke et Christopher Oliver, Polity Press, Cambridge, RU et Malen, EU, 2014.

Henri Sterdyniak

L’ouvrage, écrit par trois sociologues américains, analyse la montée du chômage structurel aux Etats-Unis, en cherche les causes et propose des mesures de politiques économiques pour le réduire. Pour le lecteur français, cet ouvrage présente deux intérêts majeurs : il montre que les problèmes du marché du travail américain sont très proches de ceux du marché du travail français ; et, bizarrement, il traite du cas américain sans s’intéresser, sauf de façon marginale, à la situation des pays européens et aux analyses qu’ont pu produire les chercheurs de notre continent. suite…»

Austerity without end – or, how Italy found itself trapped by European rules

By Raul Sampognaro

If the budget submitted by France is out of step with the rules on fiscal governance in the euro area (see the recent posts on this subject by Henri Sterdyniak and Xavier Timbeau), Italy is also in the hot seat. The situations of France and Italy are, however, not directly comparable: the case of Italy could be far more restrictive than that of France, once again reflecting the perverse effects of Europe’s new governance. While, unlike France, Italy is no longer subject to an Excessive Deficit Procedure (EDP), with its budget deficit at the 3% threshold since 2012, it is still covered by the Stability and Growth Pact’s preventive arm and thus enhanced surveillance with respect to the debt criterion. The country’s debt of 127% of GDP is well above the 60% level set by EU rules and, according to its medium-term budgetary objective (MTO), Italy must come close to balancing government spending. suite…»

Jean Tirole – an outstanding economist

By Jean-Luc Gaffard

Jean Tirole, this year’s winner of the Bank of Sweden’s Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, is an exceptional economist. This is reflected in the academic quality of his published works, both in the discipline’s major journals and in books where he builds on his own research to engage with the major issues facing economics in the field of industry, regulation and finance. It is also reflected in his clear determination to address genuine issues that are important to an understanding of the functioning of market economies and in his concrete proposals for public policy to deal with this. It is also reflected in the way he explores these issues through developing powerful new analytical tools. And finally, it is reflected in the modesty of the judgments he renders on his results and their practical implications, a modesty befitting a true scientist. suite…»

Jean Tirole, un économiste d’exception

par Jean-Luc Gaffard

Jean Tirole, à qui est attribué cette année le Prix de la Banque de Suède en sciences économiques en mémoire d’Alfred Nobel, est un économiste d’exception. Il l’est par la qualité académique de ses travaux publiés aussi bien dans les plus grandes revues de la discipline que dans des livres où il présente les grandes questions d’économie industrielle, d’économie de la régulation ou d’économie financière en suivant un fil conducteur issu de ses propres recherches. Il l’est par la volonté explicite d’aborder de vrais sujets, majeurs pour la compréhension du fonctionnement des économies de marché et de faire des propositions concrètes de politique publique qui s’y rapportent. Il l’est parce qu’il a traité de ces sujets en développant de nouveaux et puissants outils d’analyse. Il l’est, enfin, par la modestie qui préside au jugement qu’il porte lui-même sur ses résultats et leur portée pratique, une modestie qui sied aux vrais scientifiques. suite…»

Are the macroeconomic forecasts of the central banks better than those of private agents?

By Paul Hubert

Private expectations – about inflation, growth and interest rates – are a critical component of most modern macroeconomic models, as they determine the current and future realizations of these very variables. Monetary policy has been shaped more and more by the incorporation of these expectations in central bankers’ calculations and the influence they have on private expectations through interest rate decisions and the way these are communicated. The establishment by the central banks of a forward-looking policy orientation, called « forward guidance », has further reinforced the importance of central bank macroeconomic forecasts as a tool of monetary policy for influencing private expectations. suite…»


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