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Inspecting the Mechanism: Leverage and the Great Recession in the Eurozone

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  • Philippe Martin
  • Thomas Philippon

Abstract

We provide a comprehensive account of the dynamics of eurozone countries from 2000 to 2012. We analyze private leverage, fiscal policy, labor costs, and spreads, and we propose a model and an identification strategy to separate the impact of credit cycles, excessive government spending, and sudden stops. We then ask how periphery countries would have fared with different policies. We find that countries could have stabilized their employment if they had followed more conservative fiscal policies during the boom. Macroprudential policies and an early intervention by the central bank to prevent market segmentation and reduce fiscal austerity would also have significantly reduced the recession.

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  • Philippe Martin & Thomas Philippon, 2017. "Inspecting the Mechanism: Leverage and the Great Recession in the Eurozone," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(7), pages 1904-1937, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:107:y:2017:i:7:p:1904-37
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.20150630
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    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • F33 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Monetary Arrangements and Institutions
    • F42 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - International Policy Coordination and Transmission
    • H61 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Budget; Budget Systems

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