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How Deep is a Crisis? Policy Responses and Structural Factors Behind Diverging Performances

The effects of the current crisis on the level of output, and consequently on unemployment and poverty, are likely to be deep and long lasting; they should not be underestimated, especially now that some timid signs of recovery are appearing. The crisis was triggered by the US financial sector, but its roots are real, and can be traced to the deepening income inequality of the last three decades, which led to a chronic deficiency of aggregate demand. In the Unites States, the center of the crisis, the policy reaction has been bold, and as a consequence the effects of the crisis are less striking than in the eurozone, where only France has a comparable performance. The policy inertia of the eurozone countries, in fact, is more structural, and is related to the institutions for the economic governance of Europe. The statute of the ECB and the SGP reflect the doctrine opposed to discretionary macroeconomic policies, constrain eurozone governments and its monetary policy. The relatively better performance of France can in fact be explained with these lenses(?) as on one side it has a well developed system of automatic stabilizers, and on the other it suffered less than other OECD countries the deepening of income inequality. Developing countries, suffering from a crisis that certainly they did not originate, should be given the means to carry on policies to contrast the crisis, thus avoiding pauperization and the long term negative effects of the adverse shock they experienced.

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Paper provided by Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE) in its series Documents de Travail de l'OFCE with number 2009-31.

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Date of creation: Nov 2009
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Handle: RePEc:fce:doctra:0931
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  1. Jean-Paul Fitoussi & Eloi Laurent, 2009. "Macroeconomic and social policies in the EU 15: the last two decades," Sciences Po publications 2009-21, Sciences Po.
  2. Jérôme Creel & Francesco Saraceno, 2008. "Automatic Stabilisation, Discretionary Policy and the Stability Pact," Sciences Po publications 2008-15, Sciences Po.
  3. Fatas, Antonio & Mihov, Ilian, 2001. "Government size and automatic stabilizers: international and intranational evidence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 3-28, October.
  4. Jonathan Heathcote & Fabrizio Perri & Giovanni L. Violante, 2010. "Unequal We Stand: An Empirical Analysis of Economic Inequality in the United States: 1967-2006," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(1), pages 15-51, January.
  5. Ethan Ilzetzki & Carlos A. Vegh, 2008. "Procyclical Fiscal Policy in Developing Countries: Truth or Fiction?," NBER Working Papers 14191, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Marco Buti & Gabriele Giudice, 2002. "Maastricht's Fiscal Rules at Ten: An Assessment," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(5), pages 823-848, December.
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