Has monetary policy become ineffective?

By Christophe Blot, Catherine Mathieu and Christine Rifflart

This text summarizes the special study of the October 2012 forecast.

Since the summer of 2007, the central banks of the industrialized countries have intervened regularly to counter the negative impact of the financial crisis on the functioning of the banking and financial system and to help kick-start growth. Initially, key interest rates were lowered considerably, and then maintained at a level close to 0 [1]. In a second phase, from the beginning of 2009, the central banks implemented what are called unconventional measures. While these policies may differ from one central bank to another, they all result in an increase in the size of their balance sheets as well as a change in the composition of their balance sheet assets. However, three years after the economies in the United States, the euro zone and the United Kingdom hit bottom, it is clear that recovery is still a ways off, with unemployment at a high level everywhere. In Europe, a new recession is threatening [2]. Does this call into question the effectiveness of monetary policy and of unconventional measures more specifically? Continue reading “Has monetary policy become ineffective?”

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Long-term competitiveness based on an environmental tax

By Jacques Le Cacheux

“Shock” or “Pact”? The debate over the loss of France’s competitiveness has recently focused on how fast a switchover from employer payroll taxes to another type of financing is being implemented, implying that the principle of doing this has already been established. As France faces a combination of a deteriorating situation in employment and the trade balance, plus growing evidence that its companies are becoming less competitive compared to those of most of our partners [1] and that business margins are alarmingly low for the future, the need to reduce labour costs seems to be clear. But how and how fast are subject to debate. Should there be a rise in the CSG tax, VAT, or other charges, at the risk of reducing the purchasing power of households in an economic context that is already worse than bleak? Continue reading “Long-term competitiveness based on an environmental tax”

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How France can improve its trade balance*

By Eric Heyer

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has made a commitment to restoring France’s balance of trade, excluding energy, by the end of his five-year term. Without addressing the curious anomaly of leaving the energy deficit out of the analysis of the country’s trade position, as if it did not count in France’s dependence on the rest of the world, we will examine the various solutions that the government could use to achieve this goal. Continue reading “How France can improve its trade balance*”

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Plea for a growth pact: the sound and fury hiding a persistent disagreement

By Jean-Luc Gaffard and Francesco Saraceno

The emphasis on the need to complement fiscal restraint by measures to boost growth, which is rising in part due to the electoral debate in France, is good news, not least because it represents a belated recognition that austerity is imposing an excessively high price on the countries of southern Europe. Continue reading “Plea for a growth pact: the sound and fury hiding a persistent disagreement”

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