Why can’t Greece get out of debt?

By Sébastien Villemot

Between 2007 and 2015, Greece’s public debt rose from 103% to 179% [1] of its GDP (see chart below). The debt-to-GDP ratio rose at an uninterrupted pace, except for a 12-point fall in 2012 following the restructuring imposed on private creditors, and despite the implementation of two macroeconomic adjustment programs (and the beginning of a third) that were aimed precisely at redressing the Greek government’s accounts. Austerity has plunged the country into a recessionary and deflationary spiral, making it difficult if not impossible to reduce the debt. The question of a further restructuring is now sharply posed. Continue reading “Why can’t Greece get out of debt?”

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From austerity to stagnation

By Xavier Timbeau

Since 2010, the European Commission has published the Annual Growth Survey to stimulate discussion on the occasion of the European semester, during which the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Commission, and civil society discuss and develop the economic strategies of the various European countries. We considered it important to participate in this debate by publishing simultaneously with the Commission an independent Annual Growth Survey (iAGS), in collaboration with the IMK, a German institute, and the ECLM, a Danish institute. In the 2014 iAGS, for instance, we estimate the cost of the austerity measures enacted since 2011. This austerity policy, which was implemented while the fiscal multipliers were very high and on a scale unprecedented since the Second World War, was followed simultaneously by most euro zone countries. This resulted in lopping 3.2% off euro zone GDP for 2013. An alternative strategy, resulting after 20 years in the same GDP-to-debt ratios (i.e. 60% in most countries), would have been possible by not seeking to reduce public deficits in the short term when the multipliers are high. In order to lower the fiscal multipliers again, it’s necessary to reduce unemployment, build up agents’ balance sheets and get out of the liquidity trap. A more limited but ongoing adjustment strategy, just as fiscally rigorous but more suited to the economic situation, would have led to 2.3 additional points of GDP in 2013, which would have been much better than under the brutal austerity we find ourselves in today. This means there would not have been a recession in 2012 or 2013 for the euro zone as a whole (see the figure below: GDP in million euros). Continue reading “From austerity to stagnation”

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The euro zone in crisis

By Catherine Mathieu and Henri Sterdyniak

The 9th EUROFRAME Conference [1], which was held in Kiel on 8 June 2012, focused on economic policy issues in the European Union. The topic was “The euro zone in crisis: Challenges for monetary and fiscal policies”. Issue 127 of the “Débats et Politiques” collection of the OFCE Revue has published revised versions of twelve papers presented in the Conference[2], gathered in five themes: exchange rate imbalances, indicators of the debt crisis, budget rules, banking and financial issues, and strategies for resolving the crisis. Continue reading “The euro zone in crisis”

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The governance of public finances: from the Fiscal pact to France’s Organic law

by Henri Sterdyniak

So the French government has had Parliament enact an “Organic law relating to the planning and governance of public finances” (loi organique relative à la programmation et à la gouvernance des finances publiques), which translates into French law the European Fiscal pact (the Treaty on stability, coordination and governance) that France had made a commitment to ratify. This Law can be assessed from two points of view: from the perspective of how well it conforms to the Treaty or from the viewpoint of its own relevance, i.e. will it improve France’s fiscal policy? Continue reading “The governance of public finances: from the Fiscal pact to France’s Organic law”

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The misfortunes of virtue*

By Christophe Blot

* This text summarizes the outlook produced by the Department of Analysis and Forecasting for the euro zone economy in 2012-2013, which is available in French on the OFCE web site

The euro zone is still in crisis: an economic crisis, a social crisis and a fiscal crisis. The 0.3% decline in GDP in the fourth quarter of 2011 is a reminder that the recovery that began after the great drop of 2008-2009 is fragile and that the euro zone has taken the first step into recession, which will be confirmed in early 2012. Continue reading “The misfortunes of virtue*”

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What new European austerity plans await us in 2012?

By Eric Heyer

To meet French commitments vis-à-vis Brussels to a general government deficit in 2012 of 4.5% of GDP, the French Prime Minister Francois Fillon announced a new plan to cut the budget by 7 billion euros. Will the plan, announced 7 November, be sufficient? Certainly not! So what new austerity plans should we expect in the coming months, and what impact will they have on growth in 2012? Continue reading “What new European austerity plans await us in 2012?”

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The G20 Summit in Cannes: Chronicle of a Disappointment Foretold?

By Jérôme Creel and Francesco Saraceno

Too long and too technical, the final declaration of collective action of the G20 Summit in Cannes shows that no clear and shared vision of the economic and financial turmoil that is rocking the global economy has emerged at the Summit. And as Seneca reminds us, the disappointment would have been less painful if success had not been promised in advance. Continue reading “The G20 Summit in Cannes: Chronicle of a Disappointment Foretold?”

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