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This article contains a brief review of the main causes of the current crisis and concerns strategies of market dogmatism and their impacts, which followed the end of post-war boom and the end of the so-called Bretton Woods System. Rising inequality and deregulation led to increasing investment of speculative capital (casino capitalism), creating a real estate bubble in USA. Owing to public bailouts, this finance capital did not lose so much after the bubble bursts. However, the bailouts created serious problems for state budgets, which were already poor as a consequence of the tax race to the bottom following the specific neoliberal recommendations to surmount the economic crisis. Together with weak economic performance and high interest rates for state bonds - due low rankings by rating agencies - some states in the euro zone were threatened with insolvency. Additionally, home-made negative structures and mismanagement worsened the situation. The financial assistance then provided by the troika were tied to harsh “reforms” in the spirit of the austerity policy. This has led to a social crisis with colossal humanitarian impacts; it is economically a fiasco and has increased the public debt to unbearable proportions, mainly in Greece, a country which might be seen as a laboratory for this strategy.
Central and Eastern European countries could learn by the Greek example of austerity policy: First, they should stay longer to their own currency, allowing them to remain competitive by compensating stronger trade partners’ productivity by the chance of devaluating. Second, it is clear that cutting off expenditures will not solve problems in case of aiming at balancing the public budget. Just the opposite, it will increase social and economic problems by down-sizing public and private demand and it will endanger necessary investments in future development (infrastructure, education). That’s why increasing state receipts and a fair tax policy are on the agenda, as long as the rich escape from contributing adequately to state’s action capability.
Dieter Gerdesmeier, Hans-Eggert Reimers and Barbara Roffia
Applying a New Bubble Test for a Composite Indicator
The paper applies a new bubble test checking the explosiveness of asset prices, especially real stock prices, real house prices and a combination of these prices. In this study, a sample of 17 OECD industrialised countries and the euro area over the period 1969 Q1 - 2010 Q2 is investigated. The authors carry out recursive unit root to determine the beginning and the end of a period of bubble behaviour. The new test procedure finds evidence for rejecting the non-bubble hypothesis. Particularly the composite indicator includes hints of bubble situations before the actual financial crisis.
Dieter Gerdesmeier, Barbara Roffia and Hans-Eggert Reimers
Forecasting inflation is of key relevance for central banks, not least because the objective of low and stable inflation is embodied in most central banks’ mandates and the monetary policy transmission mechanism is well known to be subject to long and variable lags. To our best knowledge, central banks around the world use conditional as well as unconditional forecasts for such purposes. Turning to unconditional forecasts, these can be derived on the basis of structural and non-structural models. Among the latter, vector autoregressive (VAR)-models are among the most popular tools.
This study aims at assessing and deriving a set of unconditional forecasts for euro area inflation based on several specifications which take into account the information content of, inter alia, monetary and credit variables. The models are ordered and based on their in-sample performance and the “best” model is selected accordingly. The results indicate that the inclusion of money and credit variables in the information set improves the quality of the forecasts over a horizon of one to eight quarters. This supports the view that central banks should regularly monitor developments in money and credit.
Zoltán Bakucs, Imre Fertő and Cristina Galamba Marreiros
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