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  • Author: Diego Valiante
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Evidence shows that financial integration in the euro area is retrenching at a quicker pace than outside the union. Home bias persists: Governments compete on funding costs by supporting 'their' banks with massive state aids, which distorts the playing field and feeds the risk-aversion loop. This situation intensifies friction in credit markets, thus hampering the transmission of monetary policies and, potentially, economic growth. This paper discusses the theoretical foundations of a banking union in a common currency area and the legal and economic aspects of EU responses. As a result, two remedies are proposed to deal with moral hazard in a common currency area: a common (unlimited) financial backstop to a privately funded recapitalisation/resolution fund and a blanket prohibition on state aids.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Mikkel Barslund, Søren Arnberg
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper aims to estimate the crowding-out effect of the Danish mandatory labour market pension reforms begun in 1993 on the level of total household savings for renters. The effect is identified via a large panel of individual administrative records utilising the differences in speed, timing and sectoral coverage of the implementation of the reform in the period 1997 to 2005. Little substitutability was found between current mandatory labour market pension savings and private voluntary savings. Each euro paid into mandatory labour market pension accounts results in a reduction in private savings of approximately 0 to 30 cents, depending on age. This low rate of substitution is only, to a minor extent, explained by liquidity constraints. The results point to mandatory pension savings having a large effect on total household savings. Thus, pension reforms that introduce mandatory savings have macroeconomic implications.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues, Reform
  • Political Geography: Denmark
  • Author: Miroslav Beblavý, Marcela Veselkova
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: In this Working Paper, based on nearly 20 papers produced by the Centre for European Policy Studies, Slovak Governance Institute and the Conference Board Europe, we examine whether the current trends in the areas of education and skills are pushing the European Union, towards convergence or polarisation. We cover a wide range of questions related to this main issue. No easy answers, but several cross-cutting messages emerged from the research. We demonstrated that there is increasing complexity in what a 'low-skilled' person is and how well (or poorly) s/he fares in the labour market. There are undoubtedly powerful forces pushing for more polarisation, particularly in the labour market. Our research confirmed that early childhood education plays an important role, and it also appears to be increasingly uncontested as a policy prescription. However, the other frequently emphasised remedy to inequality - less selection in secondary education, particularly later division of children into separate tracks - is more problematic. Its effectiveness depends on the country in question and the target group, while education systems are extremely difficult to shift even on a long-term basis. A different, more-nuanced type of warning to policy-makers is delivered in our research on returns to higher education by field of study, which showed hidden rationality in how students choose their major.
  • Topic: Economics, Education, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Clara Portela
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This study analyses the use by the European Union of the novel concept of 'targeted sanctions' in the framework of its Common Foreign and Security Policy. It examines two sets of sanctions regimes featuring different degrees of efficacy: in Myanmar and Zimbabwe, the EU wielded measures in support of human rights and democracy objectives in the absence of a United Nations mandate, while it supplemented UN sanctions to stop nuclear proliferation in Iran and North Korea. The study highlights a number of facilitators of, or hindrances to, the efficacy of sanctions, such as the degree of support by regional powers or the presence of UN legitimation. It concludes that the EU sanctions regimes could be optimised by using more robust measures, designing them on the basis of ex ante assessments, enabling faster upgrades, monitoring their impact and adjusting them regularly and improving outreach efforts.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Economics, Regional Cooperation, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, United Nations, Zimbabwe
  • Author: Arno Behrens, Jonas Teusch, Caroline Coulie
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper assesses the impact of decarbonisation of the energy sector on employment in Europe. Setting the stage for such an assessment, the paper provides an analysis of possible pathways to decarbonise Europe's energy system, taking into account EU greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets for 2020 and 2050. It pays particular attention to various low-carbon technologies that could be deployed in different regions of the EU. It concludes that efficiency and renewables play a major role in any decarbonisation scenario and that the power sector is the main enabler for the transition to a low-carbon economy in Europe, despite rising electricity demand. The extent of the decline in the share of fossil fuels will largely depend on the existence of carbon capture and storage (CCS), which remains a major source of uncertainty.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Thomas Barnebeck Andersen, Nikolaj Malchow-Møller, Jens Nordvig
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Has inflation targeting (IT) conferred benefits in terms of economic growth on countries that followed this particular monetary policy strategy during the crisis period 2007-12? This paper answers this question in the affirmative. Countries with an IT monetary regime with flexible exchange rates weathered the crisis much better than countries with other monetary regimes, predominantly countries with fixed exchange rates. Part of this difference in growth performance reflects differences in export performance during the initial years of the crisis, which in turn can be explained by real exchange rate depreciations. However, IT seems also to confer other benefits on the countries above and beyond the effects from currency depreciation.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Denmark
  • Author: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The EMS crisis of the 1990 s illustrated the importance of a lack of confidence in price or exchange rate stability, whereas the present crisis illustrates the importance of a lack of confidence in fiscal sustainability. Theoretically the difference between the two should be minor since, in terms of the real return to an investor, the loss of purchasing power can be the same when inflation is unexpectedly high, or when the nominal value of government debt is cut in a formal default. Experience has shown, however, that expropriation via a formal default is much more disruptive than via inflation.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Italy
  • Author: Ansgar Belke, Anne Oeking, Ralph Setzer
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The significant gains in export market shares made in a number of vulnerable euro-area crisis countries have not been accompanied by an appropriate improvement in price competitiveness. This paper argues that, under certain conditions, firms consider export activity as a substitute for serving domestic demand. The strength of the link between domestic demand and exports is dependent on capacity constraints. Our econometric model for six euro-area countries suggests domestic demand pressure and capacity-constraint restrictions as additional variables of a properly specified export equation. As an innovation to the literature, we assess the empirical significance through the logistic and the exponential variant of the non-linear smooth transition regression model. We find that domestic demand developments are relevant for the short-run dynamics of exports in particular during more extreme stages of the business cycle. A strong substitutive relationship between domestic and foreign sales can most clearly be found for Spain, Portugal and Italy, providing evidence of the importance of sunk costs and hysteresis in international trade.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Rights, International Trade and Finance, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Paul De Grauwe, Yuemei Ji
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Since the announcement of the Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT) programme by Mario Draghi, President of the ECB, in 2012, the government bond spreads began a strong decline. This paper finds that most of this decline is due to the positive market sentiments that the OMT programme has triggered and is not related to underlying fundamentals, such as the debt-to-GDP ratios or the external debt position that have continued to increase in most countries. The authors even argue that the market's euphoria may have gone too far in taking into account the same market fundamentals. They conclude with some thoughts about the future governance of the OMT programme.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Ana-Maria Fuertes, Elena Kalotychou, Orkun Saka
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Paul De Grauwe ' s fragility hypothesis states that member countries of a monetary union such as the eurozone are highly vulnerable to a self – fulfilling mechanism by which the efforts of investors to avoid losses from default can end up triggering the very default they fear. The authors test this hypothesis by applying an eclectic methodology to a time window around Mario Draghi ' s " whatever it takes " (to keep the eurozone on firm footing) pledge on 26 July 2012 . This pledge was soon followed by the announcement of the Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT) program me (the prospective and conditional purchase by the European Central Bank of sovereign bonds of eurozone countries having difficulty issuing debt) . The principal components of eurozone credit default swap spreads validate this choice of time frame . An event study reveals significant pre – announcement contagion emanating from Spain to Italy, Belgium, France and Austria. Furthermore, time – series regression confirms frequent clusters of large shocks affecting the credit default swap spreads of the four eurozone countries but solely during the pre – announcement period. The findings of this report support the fragility hypothesis for the eurozone and endorse the Outright Monetary Transactions programme.
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Exchange, International Trade and Finance, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, France, Belgium, Italy
  • Author: Michael Emerson
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper looks at the trade policy landscape of the EU and the wider Europe, with a focus on issues arising from the signature on 27 June 2014 of Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreements (DCFTAs) between the EU and three East European countries (Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine), and actual or prospective issues relating to the customs union of Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan (BRK), and the Eurasian Economic Union whose founding treaty was signed on 29 May 2014. While the contrived collision between these projects has tragically induced Russia to break all the established international security norms by waging war against Ukraine, the present paper deals essentially with trade policy issues. The huge expansion of intercontinental free trade area negotiations currently underway, in which the EU is an active participant alongside much of the Americas and Asia, stands in contrast with Russia's choice to restrict itself to the Eurasian Economic Union, which is only a marginal extension of its own economy. Alone among the major economies in the world, Russia does not seek to integrate economically with any major economic bloc, which should be a matter of serious concern for Moscow. Within the wider Europe, the EU's DCFTAs with Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia are a major new development, but Russia now threatens trade sanctions against Ukraine in particular, the economic case for which seems unfounded and whose unilateral application would also impair the customs union. The Belarus-Russia-Kazakhstan customs union itself poses several issues of compatibility with the rules of the WTO, which in turn are viewed by the EU as an impediment to discussing possible free trade scenarios with the customs union, although currently there are far more fundamental political impediments to any consideration of such ideas. Nonetheless this paper looks at various long-term scenarios, if only as a reminder that there could be much better alternatives to the present context of conflict around Ukraine.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Russia, America, Europe, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Asia, Georgia
  • Author: Michael Emerson
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper looks at the trade policy landscape of the EU and the wider Europe, with a focus on issues arising from the signature on 27 June 2014 of Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreements (DCFTAs) between the EU and three East European countries (Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine), and actual or prospective issues relating to the customs union of Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan (BRK), and the Eurasian Economic Union whose founding treaty was signed on 29 May 2014. While the contrived collision between these projects has tragically induced Russia to break all the established international security norms by waging war against Ukraine , the present paper deals essentially with trade policy issues . The huge expansion of intercontinental free trade area negotiation s currently underway, in which the EU is an active participant alongside much of the Americas and Asia, stands in contrast with Russia's choice to restrict itself to the Eurasian Economic Union, which is only a marginal extension of its own economy. Alone among the major economies in the world, Russia does not seek to integrate economically with any major economic bloc, which should be a matter of serious concern for Moscow. Within the wider Europe, the EU's DCFTAs with Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia are a major new development, but Russia now threatens trade sanctions against Ukraine in particular, the economic case for which seems unfounded and whose unilateral application would also impair the customs union. The Belarus-Russia-Kazakhstan customs union itself poses several issues of compatibility with the rules of the WTO, which in turn are viewed by the EU as an impediment to discussing possible free trade scenarios with the customs union, although currently there are far more fundamental political impediments to any consideration of such ideas. Nonetheless this paper looks at various long-term scenarios, if only as a reminder that there could be much better alternatives to the present context of conflict around Ukraine.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Kazakhstan
  • Author: Ansgar Belke, Timo Baas
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Member countries of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) initiated wide-ranging labour market reforms in the last decade. This process is ongoing as countries that are faced with serious labour market imbalances perceive reforms as the fastest way to restore competitiveness within a currency union. This fosters fears among observers about a beggar-thy-neighbour policy that leaves non-reforming countries with a loss in competitiveness and an increase in foreign debt. Using a two-country, two-sector search and matching DSGE model, we analyse the impact of labour market reforms on the transmission of macroeconomic shocks in both non-reforming and reforming countries. By analysing the impact of reforms on foreign debt, we contribute to the debate on whether labour market reforms increase or reduce current account imbalances.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Politics, Labor Issues, Reform
  • Author: Jørgen Mortensen
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper first takes a step backwards with an attempt to situate the recent adoption of the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union in the context of discussions on the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) and the 'Maastricht criteria', as fixed in the Maastricht Treaty for membership in the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) in a longer perspective of the sharing of competences for macroeconomic policy-making within the EU. It then presents the main features of the new so-called 'Fiscal Compact' and its relationship to the SGP and draws some conclusions as regards the importance and relevance of this new step in the process of economic policy coordination. It concludes that the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union does not seem to offer a definitive solution to the problem of finding the appropriate budgetary-monetary policy mix in EMU, which was already well identified in the Delors report in 1989 and regularly emphasised ever since and is now seriously aggravated due to the crisis in the eurozone. Furthermore, implementation of this Treaty may under certain circumstances contribute to an increase in the uncertainties as regards the distribution of the competences between the European Parliament and national parliaments and between the former and the Commission and the Council.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Anna-Elisabeth Thum, Miroslav Beblavý, Galina Potjagailo
  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Adult learning is seen as a key factor for enhancing employment, innovation and growth, and it should concern all age cohorts. The aim of this paper is to understand the points in the life cycle at which adult learning takes place and whether it leads to reaching a medium or high level of educational attainment. To this end we perform a synthetic panel analysis of adult learning for cohorts aged 25 to 64 in 27 European countries using the European Labour Force Survey. We find, as previous results suggest, that a rise in educational attainment as well as participation in education and training happens mostly at the age range of 25-29. However, investment across the life cycle by cohorts older than 25 still occurs: in most countries in our sample, participation in education and training as well as educational attainment increases observably across all cohorts. We also find that the decline with age slows down or is even reversed for older cohorts, for both participation in education and educational attainment. Finally, we can identify a Nordic model in which adult learning is achieved through participation in education and training, a Central European model in which adult learning occurs in the form of increasing educational attainment and a liberal model in which both approaches to adult learning are observable.
  • Topic: Economics, Education, Markets, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Mikkel Barslund, Thomas Barnebeck Andersen, Casper Worm Hansen, Thomas Harr, Peter Sandholt Jensen
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This Working Document provides an estimate of China's impact on the growth rate of resource-rich countries since its WTO accession in December 2001. The authors' empirical approach follows the logic of the differences-in-differences estimator. In addition to temporal variation arising from the WTO accession, which they argue was exogenous to other countries' growth trajectories, the authors exploit spatial variation arising from differences in natural resource wealth. In this way they can compare changes in economic growth in the pre- and post-accession periods between countries that benefited from the surge in demand for industrial commodities brought about by China's WTO accession and countries that were less able to do so. They find that that roughly one-tenth of the average annual post-accession growth in resource-rich countries was due to China's increased appetite for commodities. The authors use this finding to inform the debate about what will happen to economic growth in resource-rich countries as China rebalances and its demand for commodities weakens.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Globalization, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Anna-Elisabeth Thum, Marten von Werder
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This report reviews national and private initiatives to allow the elderly to continue their participation in the Finnish labour market and provides an analysis of the labour market and living conditions of seniors. We are interested in how those over 50 can be engaged in various forms of employment and lifelong learning. We find strong evidence that Finland generally provides good institutional conditions for active ageing. The quick and early ageing process was tackled by the fundamental pension reform that already prolonged retirement substantially and will probably facilitate later retirement as the attitudes concerning retirement change. On the other hand, Finland still seems to lack behind the other Nordic welfare states, has considerable problems in providing the same health conditions to low educated people in physically demanding occupations and could - with respect to family pension in particular - invest further effort in reforming the pension system. While many of the reforms Finland has conducted seem to be favourable and transferable to other European countries that still face the steepest phases of ageing in their societies, a reluctance towards changing attitudes that we observe in Finland, shows that organizing active ageing is a long-term project.
  • Topic: Demographics, Economics, Health, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Europe, Finland
  • Author: Anna-Elisabeth Thum, Nicolas Contreras, Elisa Martellucci
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This report aims at understanding how persons aged 50 years and older are and can be integrated into the working society in Belgium. We are interested in how people in this age group can be induced to engage in various forms of employment and lifelong learning. Based on secondary literature, descriptive databases as well as interviews with experts and focus groups, we find that the discussion on active ageing in Belgium is well advanced with numerous contributions by academics, stakeholders, social partners, the public administration and interest groups. The wish to retire at 60 is widely shared but at the same time the majority of Belgium's elderly are able and would be willing to work under specific conditions. Therefore, we recommend that Belgium should invest in more flexible systems including a revision of the tax scheme, such as the part-time retirement system proposed by the insurance company Delta Lloyd. An equally relevant recommendation would be to ensure that public employment agencies, employers and agencies that provide training encourage all workers to work and learn regardless of their age.
  • Topic: Demographics, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Europe, Belgium
  • Author: Bernard Delbecque
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper argues that it should be possible to complement Europe's Economic and Monetary Union with an insurance-type shock absorption mechanism to increase the resilience of member countries to economic shocks and reduce output volatility. Such a mechanism would neither require the establishment of a central authority, nor would it lead to permanent transfers between countries. For this mechanism to become a reality, however, it would be necessary to overcome certain technical problems linked to the difficulty of anticipating correctly the position of an economy in the business cycle.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Andrea Renda, Oliver Fritsch, Claudio M. Radaelli, Lorna Schrefler
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper examines the quality of impact assessments in the European Commission and the United Kingdom for the period 2005-2010. We coded 477 impact assessments for the UK and 251 for the European Commission, using a detailed scorecard - adjusted to reduce the bias evidenced by previous usages of this instrument.
  • Topic: Economics, Regional Cooperation, Governance
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe