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How the Euro Crisis Evolved and How to Avoid Another: EMU, Fiscal Policy and Credit Ratings

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  • Polito, Vito
  • Wickens, Michael R.

Abstract

This paper argues that the crisis was an outcome of EMU: setting a common monetary policy for countries with different initial inflation rates. The crisis countries were those with high inflation rates which then had negative real interest rates and consequently over-borrowed. Current policy discussions focus on crisis measures: fiscal, banking and political union, not avoiding another crisis. This paper suggests two ways to avoid a future crisis: offset an inappropriate monetary policy using fiscal policy; markets could better price loan rates by taking into account default risk. The paper shows that neither was done prior to the crisis.

Suggested Citation

  • Polito, Vito & Wickens, Michael R., 2013. "How the Euro Crisis Evolved and How to Avoid Another: EMU, Fiscal Policy and Credit Ratings," CEPR Discussion Papers 9521, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9521
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    1. Alan J. Auerbach & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2012. "Measuring the Output Responses to Fiscal Policy," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 1-27, May.
    2. Reichlin, Lucrezia, 2014. "Monetary Policy and Banks in the Euro Area: The Tale of Two Crises," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 39(PB), pages 387-400.
    3. Carneiro, Anabela & Portugal, Pedro & Varejão, José, 2014. "Catastrophic job Destruction during the Portuguese Economic Crisis," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 39(PB), pages 444-457.
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    13. Gibson, Heather D. & Hall, Stephen G. & Tavlas, George S., 2014. "Fundamentally Wrong: Market Pricing of Sovereigns and the Greek Financial Crisis," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 39(PB), pages 405-419.
    14. Polito, Vito & Wickens, Mike, 2014. "Modelling the U.S. sovereign credit rating," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 202-218.
    15. Gibson, Heather D. & Palivos, Theodore & Tavlas, George S., 2014. "The Crisis in the Euro Area: An Analytic Overview," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 39(PB), pages 233-239.
    16. Polito, Vito & Wickens, Michael, 2014. "How the Euro Crisis Evolved and how to Avoid Another: EMU, Fiscal Policy and Credit Ratings," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 39(PB), pages 364-374.
    17. Alan J. Auerbach & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2013. "Corrigendum: Measuring the Output Responses to Fiscal Policy," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 5(3), pages 320-322, August.
    18. Vito Polito & Michael Wickens, 2011. "Assessing the fiscal stance in the European Union and the United States, 1970–2011 [‘A historical public debt database’]," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 26(68), pages 599-647.
    19. Mike Wickens, 2010. "Is the Euro the Success that Everyone Seems to Think?," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 21(1), pages 183-185, February.
    20. Gibson, Heather D. & Hall, Stephen G. & Tavlas, George S., 2012. "The Greek financial crisis: Growing imbalances and sovereign spreads," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 498-516.
    21. International Monetary Fund, 2009. "The State of Public Finances Cross-Country Fiscal Monitor: November 2009," IMF Staff Position Notes 2009/025, International Monetary Fund.
    22. Buti,Marco & Deroose,Servaas & Gaspar,Vitor & Martins,João Nogueira (ed.), 2010. "The Euro," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9789279098420.
    23. Polito, Vito & Wickens, Mike, 2012. "A model-based indicator of the fiscal stance," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(3), pages 526-551.
    24. Eichengreen, Barry & Jung, Naeun & Moch, Stephen & Mody, Ashoka, 2014. "The Eurozone Crisis: Phoenix Miracle or Lost Decade?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 39(PB), pages 288-308.
    25. Carlo Cottarelli & José Vinãls, 2009. "A Strategy for Renormalizing Fiscal and Monetary Policies in Advanced Economies," IMF Staff Position Notes 2009/22, International Monetary Fund.
    26. Polito, Vito & Wickens, Michael, 2015. "Sovereign credit ratings in the European Union: A model-based fiscal analysis," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 220-247.
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    Cited by:

    1. Whelan, Karl, 2014. "Ireland’s Economic Crisis: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 39(PB), pages 424-440.
    2. Daniele Siena, 2021. "The Euro Area Periphery and Imbalances: Is it an Anticipation Story?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 40, pages 278-308, April.
    3. D. Siena, 2014. "The European Monetary Union and Imbalances: Is it an Anticipation Story ?," Working papers 501, Banque de France.
    4. Eichengreen, Barry & Jung, Naeun & Moch, Stephen & Mody, Ashoka, 2014. "The Eurozone Crisis: Phoenix Miracle or Lost Decade?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 39(PB), pages 288-308.
    5. Gómez-Puig, Marta & Sosvilla-Rivero, Simón, 2017. "Heterogeneity in the debt-growth nexus: Evidence from EMU countries," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 470-486.
    6. Dong, Yan & Wang, Cong, 2021. "The effect of stimulus policy on lending behavior and bank risk: Evidence from the Chinese banking sector," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(C).
    7. Gibson, Heather D. & Hall, Stephen G. & Tavlas, George S., 2014. "Fundamentally Wrong: Market Pricing of Sovereigns and the Greek Financial Crisis," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 39(PB), pages 405-419.
    8. Polito, Vito & Wickens, Michael, 2014. "How the Euro Crisis Evolved and how to Avoid Another: EMU, Fiscal Policy and Credit Ratings," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 39(PB), pages 364-374.
    9. Reichlin, Lucrezia, 2014. "Monetary Policy and Banks in the Euro Area: The Tale of Two Crises," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 39(PB), pages 387-400.
    10. Unger, Robert, 2017. "Asymmetric credit growth and current account imbalances in the euro area," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 73(PB), pages 435-451.
    11. Honkapohja, Seppo, 2014. "The Euro Area Crisis: A View from the North," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 39(PB), pages 260-271.
    12. Yuwen Dai, 2022. "Monetary Policy and Financial Sustainability in a Two-State Open Economy," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(8), pages 1-12, April.
    13. Carneiro, Anabela & Portugal, Pedro & Varejão, José, 2014. "Catastrophic job Destruction during the Portuguese Economic Crisis," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 39(PB), pages 444-457.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    credit ratings; EMU; euro crisis; fiscal policy;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt
    • H68 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Forecasts of Budgets, Deficits, and Debt

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