151 research outputs found

    Fiscal crises in US cities: Structural and non-structural causes

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    Financial difficulties of U.S. cities have recently become a major issue of concern. However, there is little agreement on why certain cities experience crises while others do not. Two arguments are put forward: Cities suffer from (1) structural problems like high immigration, congestion etc. (2) nonstructural political problems like the weakness of the mayor, union-power etc. Starting from a common pool model of municipal goods we estimate demand equations for spending and debt with structural variables. The estimation is based on 900 US cities in 1985, 1991 and 1999. Structural factors predicted by the model explain most of the variation of spending and debt levels. Furthermore coefficients are stable over time. However, excessively high debt burdens as indicators of potential crisis, and high spending levels are outliers and not explained by structural factors. --

    Challenges for the euro area and implications for Latvia

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    This Policy Contribution reviews the major challenges faced by the euro area, and discusses recent initiatives and the way forward. Some implications are drawn out for Latviaâ??s euro accession, which is likely to be beneficial on balance. The euro area faces three major challenges: (1) high private and public debt in some of its parts together with a requirement for competitiveness adjustment that in some countries has barely started; (2) weak growth outlook; (3) continued banking-sector fragility that, with sovereign stress, feeds a negative feedback loop. The euro area has agreed many significant measures to overcome these problems, including the European Stability Mechanism and the fiscal compact. The 21 February agreement on Greece removes a major source of financial instability even though it is likely that further debt reductions will be needed. Significant concerns remain, the most important of which are the slow real economic adjustment and the largely unaddressed banking-sovereign fragility. The fiscal compact raises the issue of appropriate fiscal stabilisation tools at the euro-area level. Countries that will soon join the euro should actively shape the debate about the further development of the overall set-up. For Latvia, joining the euro makes sense because Latvia has kept its exchange rate fixed and has undergone internal adjustment. In its euro-area accession negotiations, Latvia should ensure that it does not participate in any of the currently ongoing financial assistance programmes. This Policy Contribution reproduces evidence given by Guntram B. Wolff to the Latvian parliamentâ??s European affairs committee, 22 February 2012.

    The Euro area's macroeconomic balancing act

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    The European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB) and the proposed prevention and correction of macroeconomic imbalances regulation (EIP) are designed to avoid imbalances. However, these instruments overlap, and need clarification. Both the ESRB and the Commission, which is given certain powers by the EIP, must identify and act early on risks. Acting in the face of strong economic and political pressure is difficult. Complementing the current approach with transparent and rules-based mechanisms will reduce this problem. The EIP and ESRB can complement each other in terms of analysis and policy, and close collaboration will be vital. The EIP regulation can be used to ensure that ESRB recommendations are followed up. In the area of financial recommendations relevent to macroeconomic imbalances, the Commission should have a more formal requirement to act on ESRB recommendations. The EIP regulation would benefit from a clause allowing recommendations to be addressed not only to member states. Conflicts between the ESRB and Commission could arise. In this case, the Treaty requires the Commission to issue a recommendation even if the ESRB issues a negative finding. Legally, it might not be possible to exclude the use by the Commission of confidential information obtained in the ESRB.

    Should non-euro area countries join the single supervisory mechanism?

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    Irrespective of the euro crisis, a European banking union makes sense, including for non-euro area countries, because of the extent of European Union financial integration. The Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) is the first element of the banking union. From the point of view of non-euro countries, the draft SSM regulation as amended by the EU Council includes strong safeguards relating to decision-making, accountability, attention to financial stability in small countries and the applicability of national macroprudential measures. Non-euro countries will also have the right to leave the SSM and thereby exempt themselves from a supervisory decision. The SSM by itself cannot bring the full benefits of the banking union, but would foster financial integration, improve the supervision of cross-border banks, ensure greater consistency of supervisory practices, increase the quality of supervision, avoid competitive distortions and provide ample supervisory information. While the decision to join the SSM is made difficult by uncertainty surrounding other elements of the banking union, including possible burden sharing, we conclude that non-euro EU members should stand ready to join the SSM and be prepared for negotiations on the other elements of the banking union

    Fool the Markets? Creative Accounting, Fiscal Transparency and Sovereign Risk Premia

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    We investigate the effects of official fiscal data and creative accounting signals on interest rate spreads between bond yields in the European Union. Our model predicts that risk premia contained in government bond spreads should increase in both the official fiscal position and the expected “creative” part of fiscal policy. The relative importance of these two signals depends on the transparency of the country. Greater transparency reduces risk premia. The empirical results confirm the hypotheses. Creative accounting increases the spread. The increase of the risk premium is stronger if financial markets are unsure about the true extent of creative accounting. Fiscal transparency reduces risk premia.risk premia, government bond yields, creative accounting, stock-flow adjustments, gimmickry, transparency

    Money demand in the euro area: new insights from disaggregated data

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    Conventional money demand specifications in the euro area have become unstable since 2001. We specify a money demand equation in deviations of individual euro area Member States variables from the euro area average and show that the income elasticity as well as the interest rate semi-elasticity remains stable. The corresponding deep parameters of the utility function have not changed. Aggregate money demand instability does therefore not result from altered standard factors determining the preference for holding money. Instead, other factors determine the aggregate monetary overhang. Since monetary developments cannot easily be explained by changing preferences, they should be closely monitored and might be a sign of imbalances.Money demand, euro area, deep parameters of money demand function, panel data

    The implications of no-deal Brexit: is the European Union prepared? Bruegel Policy Contribution Issue n˚2 | January 2019

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    This Policy Contribution, based on a note written for the Bundestag EU Committee, explores the possible consequences of a no-deal Brexit for the European Union and assesses preparations on the EU side. It also provides guidance on the optimal strategy for the EU, depending on the choices made by the United Kingdom

    Rules and risk in the euro area: does rules-based national fiscal governance contain sovereign bond spreads?

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    The strengthening of national fiscal frameworks, including numerical fiscal rules, has recently been proposed as an important part of the economic governance reform package for the EU. The strength of numerical fiscal rules can be described along the dimensions of their statutory base, the room to revise budgetary objectives, provisions for their monitoring and enforcement, and their media visibility. With a unique data set summarizing the quality of national fiscal rules along these dimensions, we show that stronger fiscal rules in euro area member states reduce sovereign risk. According to our estimates, yield spreads against Germany of countries with relatively weak fiscal rules could be up to 100 basis points lower if they upgraded their numerical fiscal rules. The legal base turns out to be the most important dimension for the perceived effectiveness of the rules. The effectiveness of the correction and enforcement mechanisms turns out to be very important as well, while the role of the bodies in charge of monitoring and enforcing compliance is somewhat smaller. Overall, national fiscal rules are found to be beneficial for market assessments of governments' ability and willingness to timely service debt: they could thus provide an effective way to implement fiscal discipline.

    Money demand in the euro area: new insights from disaggregated data

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    Conventional money demand specifications in the euro area have become unstable since 2001. We specify a money demand equation in deviations of individual euro area Member States variables from the euro area average and show that the income elasticity as well as the interest rate semi-elasticity remain stable. The corresponding deep parameters of the utility function have not changed. Aggregate money demand instability does therefore not result from altered standard factors determining the preference for holding money. Instead, other factors determine the aggregate monetary overhang. Since monetary developments cannot easily be explained by changing preferences, they should be closely monitored and might be a sign of imbalances.Money demand, M3, national contributions, euro area
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