Missing deflation – unique to America?

By Paul Hubert, Mathilde Le Moigne

Was the way inflation unfolded after the 2007-2009 crisis atypical? According to Paul Krugman: “If inflation [note: in the United States] had responded to the Great Recession and aftermath in the same way it did in previous big slumps, we would be deep in deflation by now; we aren’t.” Indeed, after 2009, inflation in the United States remained surprisingly stable given actual economic developments. Has this phenomenon, which has been described as “missing deflation”, been observed in the euro zone? Continue reading “Missing deflation – unique to America?”

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The secular stagnation equilibrium

By Gilles Le Garrec et Vincent Touzé

The economic state of slow growth and underemployment, coupled with low inflation or even deflation, has recently been widely discussed, in particular by Larry Summers, under the label of “secular stagnation”. The hypothesis of secular stagnation was expressed for the first time in 1938 in a speech by A. Hansen, which was finally published in 1939. Hansen was worried about insufficient investment and a declining population in the United States, following a long period of strong economic and demographic growth. Continue reading “The secular stagnation equilibrium”

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Elections and the (first) derivative of unemployment: the turnaround strategy

By Guillaume Allègre, g_allegre

A ministerial adviser recently explained to me what he thinks is the strategy of the French President on macroeconomic management and unemployment, which could be called a turnaround strategy: “In relation to the presidential elections, the goal is to reduce unemployment in 2016-2017. The way people vote is based on the way unemployment has been changing just in the last year or even the last 6 months. Like for Jospin in 2002.” The belief that for unemployment and the economy in general what counts is the derivative, i.e. the recent evolution and not the actual level, has deep roots in the technocratic-political milieu: “it’s the derivative, stupid!” is the new “it’s the economy, stupid!“ (the maxim of Bill Clinton’s election strategist in 1992). Continue reading “Elections and the (first) derivative of unemployment: the turnaround strategy”

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High-impact economists

By Zakaria Babutsidze and Mark J. McCabe

This coming Monday, October 14 2013, as many as three economists will join the elite group of winners of the Sveriges Riksbanks Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences is responsible for the selection of the Laureates in Economic Sciences from among the candidates recommended by the Economic Sciences Prize Committee. In early October, the Academy selects the laureates through a majority vote. Continue reading “High-impact economists”

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Austerity in Europe: a change of course?

By Marion Cochard and Danielle Schweisguth

On 29 May, the European Commission sent the members of the European Union its new economic policy recommendations. In these recommendations, the Commission calls for postponing the date for achieving the public deficit goals of four euro zone countries (Spain, France, Netherlands and Portugal), leaving them more time to hit the 3% target. Italy is no longer in the excessive deficit procedure. Only Belgium is called on to intensify its efforts. Should this new roadmap be interpreted as a shift towards an easing of austerity policy in Europe? Can we expect a return to growth in the Old Continent? Continue reading “Austerity in Europe: a change of course?”

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France: why such zeal?

By Marion Cochard and Danielle Schweisguth

On 29 May, the European Commission sent the members of the European Union its new economic policy recommendations. As part of this, the Commission granted France an additional two years to reach the deficit reduction target of 3%. This target is now set for 2015, and to achieve this the European Commission is calling for fiscal impulses of -1.3 GDP points in 2013 and -0.8 point in 2014 (see “Austerity in Europe: a change of course?”). This would ease the structural effort needed, since the implementation of the previous commitments would have required impulses of -2.1 and -1.3 GDP points for 2013 and 2014, respectively. Continue reading “France: why such zeal?”

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The tax credit to encourage competitiveness and jobs – what impact?

By Mathieu Plane

Following the submission to the Prime Minister of the Gallois Report on the pact for encouraging the competitiveness of French industry, the government decided to establish the tax credit to encourage competitiveness and jobs (“the CICE”). Based on the rising trade deficit observed over the course of the last decade, the sharp deterioration in business margins since the onset of the crisis and growing unemployment, the government intends to use the CICE to restore the competitiveness of French business and to boost employment. According to our assessment, which was drawn up using the e-mod.fr model as described in an article in the Revue de l’OFCE (issue 126-2012), within five years the CICE should help to create about 150,000 jobs, bringing the unemployment rate down by 0.6 point and generating additional growth of 0.1 GDP point by 2018. Continue reading “The tax credit to encourage competitiveness and jobs – what impact?”

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Revising the multipliers and revising the forecasts – From talk to action?

By Bruno Ducoudré

Following on the heels of the IMF and the European Commission (EC), the OECD has also recently made a downward revision in its forecast for GDP growth in the euro zone in 2012 (-0.4%, against -0.1% in April 2012) and in 2013 (0.1%, against 0.9% in April 2012). In its latest forecasting exercise, the OECD says it now shares with the other international institutions (the IMF [i] and EC [ii]) the idea that the multipliers are currently high in the euro zone [iii]: the simultaneous implementation of fiscal austerity throughout the euro zone while the economy is already in trouble, combined with a European Central Bank that has very little leeway to cut its key interest rate further, is increasing the impact of the ongoing fiscal consolidation on economic activity. Continue reading “Revising the multipliers and revising the forecasts – From talk to action?”

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Economic policy-making tools for pre- and post-crisis periods

by Zakaria Babutsidze and Mauro Napoletano

The worldwide financial crisis has questioned the relevance of economic models that are currently used by central bankers and macro analysts. In contrast, the recent economic events seem to be better described by models featuring boundedly rational heterogeneous agents and wherein markets do not necessarily clear at all times. Agent Based Models (ABMs) are a new class of models that embed all the above features, and therefore qualify as a promising alternative to conventional models. Continue reading “Economic policy-making tools for pre- and post-crisis periods”

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Yes, the national accounts will be revised after the election

By Hervé Péléraux and Lionel Persyn[1]

In a Europe that is heading more and more clearly towards a recession, in mid-February the INSEE reported a 0.2% rise in France’s GDP. This fourth-quarter performance was surprising, as it contrasts sharply with the deterioration in the economic climate since summer 2011, which indicated that GDP growth would be less favourable than that announced. Continue reading “Yes, the national accounts will be revised after the election”

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