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When Good Intentions Pave the Road to Hell: Monetization Fears and Europe's Narrowing Options

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  • Andrea Terzi

Abstract

With the creation of the Economic and Monetary Union and the euro, the national government debt of eurozone member-states became credit sensitive. While the potentially destabilizing impact of adverse cyclical conditions on credit-sensitive debt was seriously underestimated, the design was intentional, framed within a Friedman-Fischer-Buchanan view that "no monetization" rules provide a powerful means to discipline government behavior. While most countries follow some kind of "no monetization" rule, the one embraced by the eurozone was special, as it also prevented monetization on the secondary market for debt. This made all eurozone public debt defaultable--at least until the European Central Bank (ECB) announced the Outright Monetary Transactions program, which can be seen as an enhanced rule-based approach that makes governments solvent on the condition that they balance their budgets. This has further narrowed Europe's options for policy solutions that are conducive to job creation. An approach that would require no immediate changes in the European Union's (EU) political structure would be for the EU to fund "net government spending in the interest of Europe" through the issue of a eurobond backed by the ECB.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrea Terzi, 2014. "When Good Intentions Pave the Road to Hell: Monetization Fears and Europe's Narrowing Options," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_810, Levy Economics Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:lev:wrkpap:wp_810
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Michael Ehrmann & Marcel Fratzscher & Refet S Güürkaynak & Eric T Swanson, 2011. "Convergence and Anchoring of Yield Curves in the Euro Area," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(1), pages 350-364, February.
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    4. Eric T. Swanson, 2008. "Convergence of long-term bond yields in the euro area," FRBSF Economic Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue nov21.
    5. David Andolfatto & Li Li, 2013. "Is the Fed monetizing government debt?," Economic Synopses, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    6. Einaudi, Luca, 2001. "Money and Politics: European Monetary Unification and the International Gold Standard (1865-1873)," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199243662.
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    Cited by:

    1. Josh Ryan-Collins & Frank van Lerven, 2018. "Bringing the helicopter to ground: a historical review of fiscal-monetary coordination to support economic growth in the 20th century," Working Papers PKWP1810, Post Keynesian Economics Society (PKES).
    2. Sergio Cesaratto, 2014. "Balance of payments or monetary sovereignty? In search of the EMU’s original sin – a reply to Lavoie," a/ Working Papers Series 1406, Italian Association for the Study of Economic Asymmetries, Rome (Italy).
    3. Lorenzo Esposito & Giuseppe Mastromatteo, 2019. "Defaultnomics: Making Sense of the Barro-Ricardo Equivalence in a Financialized World," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_933, Levy Economics Institute.
    4. Mariana Mazzucato & Rainer Kattel & Josh Ryan-Collins, 2020. "Challenge-Driven Innovation Policy: Towards a New Policy Toolkit," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 20(2), pages 421-437, June.
    5. Sergio Cesaratto, 2015. "Balance of Payments or Monetary Sovereignty? In Search of the EMU’s Original Sin," International Journal of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(2), pages 142-156, April.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Euro; Eurozone; Debt Monetization; Sovereign Debt Crisis; Government Budget Constraint;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E63 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Comparative or Joint Analysis of Fiscal and Monetary Policy; Stabilization; Treasury Policy
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt

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