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    Ukraine’s path to European Union membership and its long-term implications. Bruegel Policy Brief Issue 05/24, March 2024.

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    Whether and when Ukraine accedes to the European Union will depend greatly on how and when its war with Russia ends and post-war reconstruction starts, and how the EU handles issues of governance, security, migration, trade, investment, the energy transition, decarbonisation and the EU budget. The enlargement process is likely to overlap with post-war reconstruction, increasing the EU's influence in fostering Ukraine’s institutional development. Ukrainian leaders will have strong incentives to comply with the accession criteria, which the EU should use astutely to create a better-functioning economy and public institutions, especially by reducing opportunities for corruption. This will require clearer standards for rule-of-law and fundamental values, including effective tools to ensure continued compliance after accession. That is also the most effective way to ensure a positive impact of future enlargements on EU governance. The EU will also need to develop assistance programmes to help the Ukrainian government manage post-war external and internal security challenges, including the large number of weapons in circulation, and to encourage Ukrainian refugees to return to the country when possible, as they will be needed for the reconstruction effort. If the current EU budget rules were applied and there were no transitional arrangements – which is unlikely – we calculate the total annual cost of Ukraine's integration into the EU budget at 0.13 per cent of EU GDP, which would hardly change net recipient/payer positions of current EU members. Some of this funding would come back to the EU via EU companies participating in EU-funded projects in Ukraine. Ukraine’s entry into the EU would benefit EU GDP via trade, migration and foreign direct investment, boosting employment, production and tax revenues in the EU. The history of EU enlargement shows that the strongest motivation for difficult reforms is a credible and predictable accession process based on rewarding reforms. Both Ukraine and the EU would benefit from progressive integration of the country into EU policies, alongside the formal accession negotiations. That would show the Ukrainian public the tangible benefits of moving towards EU standards, while also bringing Ukraine into areas such as energy cooperation and decarbonisation

    Incorporating the impact of social investments and reforms in the European Union’s new fiscal framework. Bruegel Working Papers, March 2024.

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    The European Union’s new fiscal framework aims to incentivise public investment and reforms by offering the option to extend the four-year fiscal adjustment period to seven years, thereby lowering the average annual fiscal adjustment requirement. EU countries can propose investment and reforms in the context of their national medium-term fiscal structural plans. When they do, these investments and reforms can be expected to also inform the fiscal adjustment proposed by member states. Yet, the EU lacks an agreed methodology for deciding on the potential quantitative impact of investment and reforms on the fiscal adjustment required under the new rules. This paper first analyses the ‘investment friendliness’ of the new framework. Although the incentives offered for raising investment are powerful, the bar for extending the adjustment period mainly through higher investment is high, and the design of the new rules will make it hard to actually raise investment. We next propose an approach for quantifying the impact of investment and reform on debt sustainability in the context of the new framework, taking into account uncertainty about their implementation and their economic effects. Such a methodology would also help the European Commission evaluate the impacts of recently adopted measures, the impacts of which are not yet observable. Developing this methodology will require revisiting the current commonly agreed methodologies for medium- and long-term capital stock and total factor productivity projections. We illustrate the potential impact of investment on debt sustainability analyses through calculations on three social investment measures, that is, combinations of reform and public spending that aim to increase human capital and labour force participations. While the impact of individual reforms on fiscal adjustment needs is generally modest, the combined impact of several measures could be notable

    The impact of artificial intelligence on the nature and quality of jobs. Bruegel WORKING PAPER | ISSUE 14/2022 | 27 JULY 2022.

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    Artificial intelligence (AI), like any workplace technology, changes the division of labour in an organisation and the resulting design of jobs. When used as an automation technology, AI changes the bundle of tasks that make up an occupation. In this case, implications for job quality depend on the (re)composition of those tasks. When AI automates management tasks, known as algorithmic management, the consequences extend into workers’ control over their work, with impacts on their autonomy, skill use and workload. We identify four use cases of algorithmic management that impact the design and quality of jobs: algorithmic work-method instructions; algorithmic scheduling of shifts and tasks; algorithmic surveillance, evaluation and discipline; and algorithmic coordination across tasks. Reviewing the existing empirical evidence on automation and algorithmic management shows significant impact on job quality across a wide range of jobs and employment settings. While each AI use case has its own particular effects on job demands and resources, the effects tend to be more negative for the more prescriptive (as opposed to supportive) use cases. These changes in job design demonstrably affect the social and physical environment of work and put pressure on contractual employment conditions as well. As technology development is a product of power in organisations, it replicates existing power dynamics in society. Consequently, disadvantaged groups suffer more of the negative consequences of AI, risking further job-quality polarisation across socioeconomic groups. Meaningful worker participation in the adoption of workplace AI is critical to mitigate the potentially negative effects of AI adoption on workers, and can help achieve fair and transparent AI systems with human oversight. Policymakers should strengthen the role of social partners in the adoption of AI technology to protect workers’ bargaining power

    Measuring macroeconomic uncertainty during the euro’s lifetime. WORKING PAPER | ISSUE 10/2022 | 20 JUNE 2022.

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    To measure macroeconomic uncertainty, we start from observable forecasts of macroeconomic variables, which are transformations of underlying economic conditions. By observing how forecasts change over time, we measure the flow of macroeconomic surprises. The more intense the flow of surprises, the greater uncertainty can be said to be. Greater differences among forecasts are also evidence of uncertainty. We draw out four indicators of macroeconomic uncertainty, measured over the lifetime of the euro: 1. How the macroeconomic forecasts of a given institution for the same time period change over time; 2. How the macroeconomic forecasts of a given institution deviate from realised outcomes; 3. How the macroeconomic forecasts of different institutions deviate from one other; 4. How dispersed the forecasts of different professionals are. We also measure whether the ‘stag-‘ or the ‘-flationary’ component is stronger in the overall stagflationary shock caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine

    How can the European Union adapt to climate change? Bruegel Policy Contribution Issue n˚11/22 | June 2022.

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    Europe must increasingly deal with the harmful impacts of climate change, regardless of its success in reducing emissions. These impacts have significant cross-border effects and threaten to deepen existing divisions. Cooperation on adaptation, which is mostly seen as requiring local or regional efforts, may be useful, but the role of the European Union is ill-defined. We give an overview of how climate change might change Europe and how it might affect people and the economy. We also discuss what sort of adaptation policies are being pursued at EU level and on what grounds. We argue that a stronger adaptation governance framework would benefit adaptation efforts. We formulate three ideas to strengthen adaptation. First is a three-layered governance framework based on intensive cooperation to establish binding adaptation plans. Second is an EU-level insurance scheme against damages from climate change, with the size of national contributions tied to the achievement of self-chosen targets in adaptation plans. Our final suggestion is to increase ex-ante adaptation funding by targeting more spending under EU regional and agricultural policies specifically to adaptation in the most vulnerable regions

    A gender perspective on artificial intelligence and jobs: The vicious cycle of digital inequality. Bruegel WORKING PAPER | ISSUE 15/2022 | 30 AUGUST 2022.

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    The worldwide artificial intelligence market is expected to increase enormously in the next few years. Because of AI’s immense potential, virtually all industries will be affected by the implementation of AI systems, resulting in the digitalisation and automation of work processes. This will cause disruptive shifts in labour markets, in terms of the number and profiles of jobs in industries as well as worker skill requirements. We take a gender perspective and analyse how gender stereotypes and gendered work segregation on the one hand, and digitalisation and automation (as a consequence of AI implementation) on the other hand, are entangled and result in a vicious cycle of digital gender inequality. We provide insights into the gender-specific impact of AI technologies, which is relevant for the mitigation of the potential risk of the creation of social inequality and exclusion. We show that existing empirical evidence already indicates that AI will not increase gender equality but will somewhat further exacerbate the gender inequality in labour markets, ranging from further horizontal and vertical occupational gender segregation to an increase in the gender pay gap. We summarise policy guidance and measures to decrease gender inequality in the future

    Decarbonisation of the energy system. Bruegel Policy Contribution Issue n ̊01/22 | January 2022.

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    Three quarters of the European Union’s greenhouse gas emissions stem from burning coal, oil and natural gas to produce energy services, including heating for buildings, transportation and operation of machinery. The transition to climate neutrality means these services must be provided without associated emissions. It is not possible today to determine tomorrow’s optimal clean energy system, largely because the cost, limitations and capability developments of competing technologies cannot be predicted. Energy systems with widely diverging shares of ‘green fuels’, in the form of electricity, hydrogen and synthetic hydrocarbons, remain conceivable. We find the overall cost of these systems to be of the same order of magnitude, but they involve larger investments at different stages of value chains. A large share of synthetic hydrocarbons would require more investment outside the EU, but less in domestic infrastructure and demand-side appliances, while electrification requires large investment in domestic infrastructure and appliances. Current projections show an overall cost advantage for direct electrification, but projections will evolve and critical players may push hard for alternative fuels. Policy will thus play a major role in shaping this balance. Political decisions should, first, push out carbon-emitting technology, primarily through carbon pricing. The more credible and predictable this strategy is over the coming decades, the smoother will be both divestment from brown technologies and investment in green technologies. Second, policy needs to help ensure that enough climate-neutral alternatives are available in time. Clear public support should be given to three system decisions about which we are sufficiently confident: the massive roll-out of renewable electricity generation; the electrification of significant shares of final energy consumption; and rapid phase-out of coal from electricity generation. For energy services where no dominant system has yet emerged, policy should forcefully explore different solutions by supporting technological and regulatory experimentation. Given the size and urgency of the transition, the current knowledge infrastructure in Europe is insufficient. Data on the current and projected state of the energy system remains inconsistent, either published in different places or not at all. This impedes the societal discussion. The transition to climate neutrality in Europe and elsewhere will be unnecessarily expensive without a knowledge infrastructure that allows society to learn which technologies, systems, and polices work best under which circumstances

    Mapping banking centres globally since 1970. Bruegel WORKING PAPER | ISSUE 12/2022 | 12 JULY 2022.

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    Brexit and the rise of China as a leading international economic power have revived discussions about the geography of banking centres. This paper analyses the geographical evolution of banking centres since the 1970s, based on a database constructed from a ranking of the top banks in the world created by The Banker magazine, a UK-based monthly publication specialised in international financial affairs. We describe both how the database was created and the ways in which it can be used to inform policy on money and capital markets. We address why the data can be used to proxy the size of International Financial Centres (IFCs) and the methodological limitations it may present. We find that banking consolidations and the evolution of the legal framework are more central to the changing geography of banking centres than economic and financial crises. We also highlight that, despite major shifts in global economic power, leading banking centres are hard to replace

    The effect of COVID certificates on vaccine uptake, public health, and the economy. Bruegel Working Paper Issue 01/2022 18 January 2022.

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    In the COVID-19 pandemic, governments have, among other measures, mandated the use of COVID certificates to prove vaccination, recovery or a recent negative test, and have required individuals to show certificates to access shops, restaurants, and education or workplaces. While arguments for and against COVID certificates have focused on reducing transmission and ethical concerns, the incentive effects of COVID certificates on vaccine uptake, health outcomes and the economy has not yet been investigated. To estimate these effects, we construct counterfactuals based on innovation diffusion theory for France, Germany and Italy. We estimate that the announcement of COVID certificates during summer 2021 led to increased vaccine uptake in France of 13.0 (95% CI 9.7–14.9) percentage points (p.p.) of the total population up to the end of the year, in Germany 6.2 (2.6–6.9) p.p., and in Italy 9.7 (5.4–12.3) p.p. Further, this averted an additional 3,979 (3,453–4,298) deaths in France, 1,133 (-312–1,358) in Germany, and 1,331 (502–1,794) in Italy; and prevented gross domestic product (GDP) losses of €6.0 (5.9–6.1) billion in France, €1.4 (1.3–1.5) billion in Germany, and €2.1 (2.0–2.2) billion in Italy. Notably, the application of COVID certificates substantially reduced the pressure on intensive care units (ICUs) and, in France, prevented occupancy levels being exceeded where prior lockdowns were instated. Varying government communication efforts and restrictions associated with COVID certificates may explain country differences, such as the smaller effect in Germany. Overall, our findings are more sizeable than predicted. This analysis may help inform decisions about when and how to employ COVID certificates to increase vaccine uptake and thus avoid stringent interventions, such as closures, curfews, and lockdowns, with major social and economic consequences

    COVID-19 and the shift to remote work. Bruegel Policy Contribution Issue n˚09/22 | June 2022.

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    COVID-19 has accelerated the shift to remote work. Enabling knowledge workers to do their jobs from home or elsewhere brings benefits by increasing labour participation, avoiding unproductive commuting time (thus reducing the carbon footprint), and reducing the gender gap by enabling single parents or partners with domestic-care responsibilities to work. Not all jobs are suitable for remote work, but far more remote work is feasible than was typical prior to the pandemic. The post-pandemic new normal is sure to differ both from the pre-pandemic normal and from current arrangements. Hybrid arrangements in which part of the week is spent at the office, and part at home, are likely to become the norm. Employers, workers, educators, trade unions and governments will need to adapt to the new normal. For employers and managers, the change emphasises the need to manage based on results rather than hours worked, and likely implies many changes in how they manage their employees. Workers will need to be flexible in order to capitalise on the new opportunities in the evolving world of work, and to ensure they have suitable skills for remote work. Educators will need to further emphasise digital skills, and to accelerate the shift from traditional education to lifelong learning. Trade unions will need to re-think how they recruit workers who do not see each other every day, and how they can respond to evolving social protection needs. Policymakers will need to deal with distributional effects driven by the shift to remote work, to protect the work-life balance that remote work potentially erodes, and to seek to ensure that the shift to remote work does not erode social protection


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