Should tax breaks on overtime be reversed?

By Eric Heyer

Among the savings plans announced on 24 August 2011 by French Prime Minister François Fillon figures a change to the system of tax reductions on overtime hours and their exemption from social contributions,[1] a scheme that has been in force in France since 1 October 2007. This provides an opportunity to take another look at some of the main conclusions of the work carried out by the OFCE (French version) on this subject. Continue reading “Should tax breaks on overtime be reversed?”

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The dual mandate, the Fed and the ECB

By Jérôme Creel and Francesco Saraceno

Since 21 September 2011, the US Federal Reserve has launched Operation Twist to reallocate its balance sheet to reduce long-term interest rates. This American activism contrasts once again with the caution displayed by the European Central Bank. On 7 September 2011, a US central banker declared that an unemployment rate of 9% in the US was as serious as an inflation rate of 5% would be. He concluded that US monetary policy needed to make the fight against unemployment a priority. We believe that this should be even more the case for the euro zone economy, which leads us to re-consider the mandate of the ECB. Continue reading “The dual mandate, the Fed and the ECB”

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Forced borrowing: the WMD of fiscal policy

By Jean-Paul Fitoussi, Gabriele Galateri di Genola and Philippe Weil

A spectre is haunting Europe – the spectre of sovereign default. All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: Brussels and Frankfurt, Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy, French socialists and German Christian Democrats. Churchillian doctors, they prescribe blood, sweat and tears – fiscal consolidation, tax increases and spending cuts. Continue reading “Forced borrowing: the WMD of fiscal policy”

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What impact will fiscal policy have on French growth?

By Eric Heyer

The proper framework for analyzing the French economy is a large economy that is not very open, and not a small open economy: the country’s economic situation has deteriorated sharply and is still far from its equilibrium position (mass unemployment, the existence of excess capacity), and its European neighbours are adopting identical approaches to fiscal policy. Under these conditions, everything indicates that the fiscal multipliers are high. The theoretical debate about the value of the multiplier and the role of agents’ expectations must therefore give way to the empirical evidence: the multipliers are positive and greater than one. Continue reading “What impact will fiscal policy have on French growth?”

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