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The Euro and European Economic Conditions


  • Martin S. Feldstein


The creation of the euro should now be recognized as an experiment that has led to the sovereign debt crisis in several countries, the fragile condition of major European banks, the high levels of unemployment, and the large trade deficits that now exist in most Eurozone countries. Although the European Central Bank managed the euro in a way that achieved a low rate of inflation, other countries both in Europe and elsewhere have also had a decade of low inflation without incurring the costs of a monetary union. The emergence of these problems just a dozen years after the start of the euro in 1999 was not an accident or the result of bureaucratic mismanagement but the inevitable consequence of imposing a single currency on a very heterogeneous group of countries, a heterogeneity that includes not only economic structures but also fiscal traditions and social attitudes. This paper reviews (1) the reasons for these economic problems, (2) the political origins of the European Monetary Union, (3) the current attempts to solve the sovereign debt problem, (4) the long-term problem of inter-country differences of productivity growth and competitiveness, (5) the special problems of Greece and Italy, (6) and the pros and cons of a Greek departure from the Eurozone.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin S. Feldstein, 2011. "The Euro and European Economic Conditions," NBER Working Papers 17617, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17617
    Note: EFG IFM ME

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    Blog mentions

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    1. Paolo Savona
      by Alberto Bagnai in Goofynomics on 2015-01-04 02:54:00


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    Cited by:

    1. Schilirò, Daniele, 2013. "Changes in the Eurozone governance after the crisis and the issue of growth," MPRA Paper 51458, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Jonathan Payne & Lawrence Uren, 2014. "Economic Policy and the Great Depression in a Small Open Economy," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 46(2-3), pages 347-370, March.
    3. Daniele Schiliro, 2014. "Changes in Eurozone Governance after the Crisis and the Issue of Growth," International Journal of Social Science Studies, Redfame publishing, vol. 2(2), pages 110-119, April.
    4. Schilirò, Daniele, 2012. "Hans Werner Sinn and Timo Wollmershaeuser’s target loans, current account balances and capital flows: the ECB’s rescue facility. A comment," MPRA Paper 48075, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Larry D. Wall, 2012. "Central banking for financial stability Some lessons from the recent instability in the US and euro area," Public Policy Review, Policy Research Institute, Ministry of Finance Japan, vol. 8(3), pages 247-280, August.
    6. Christian Keuschnigg, 2012. "Should Europe Become a Fiscal Union?," CESifo Forum, Ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 13(1), pages 35-43, April.
    7. Keuschnigg, Christian, 2012. "Welche Finanz- und Wirtschaftspolitik braucht Europa?," Economics Working Paper Series 1201, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
    8. repec:kap:iaecre:v:21:y:2015:i:3:p:275-285 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Streeck, Wolfgang & Elsässer, Lea, 2014. "Monetary disunion: The domestic politics of Euroland," MPIfG Discussion Paper 14/17, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
    10. Ziółkowski Michał, 2014. "Geographic Labor Mobility as an Element of Adjustment Process in the Eurozone Countries and the USA States," International Journal of Management and Economics, De Gruyter Open, vol. 41(1), pages 23-44, March.
    11. Kleczka, Mitja, 2015. "Monetary Policy, Fiscal Policy, and Secular Stagnation at the Zero Lower Bound. A View on the Eurozone," MPRA Paper 67228, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Alberto Bagnai, 2014. "Un external compact per rilanciare l'Europa," a/ Working Papers Series 1401, Italian Association for the Study of Economic Asymmetries, Rome (Italy).
    13. Wall, Larry D., 2012. "Central Banking for Financial Stability: Some Lessons from the Recent Instability in the United States and Euro Area," ADBI Working Papers 379, Asian Development Bank Institute.
    14. Schilirò, Daniele, 2012. "The crisis of euro’s governance: institutional aspects and policy issues," MPRA Paper 40861, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Afflatet, Nicolas, 2014. "European Monetary Policy in the Heterogeneous Currency Area and the Open Question of Convergence," EconStor Preprints 93382, ZBW - German National Library of Economics.
    16. Christian Keuschnigg & Klaus Weyerstrass, 2015. "Macroeconomic Adjustment and Institutional Reforms in the Euro Area," International Advances in Economic Research, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 21(3), pages 275-285, August.

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    • E0 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General

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