Economy & Markets

Edited by Donato Masciandaro and Gianmarco Ottaviano

2021-12-14 Gianmarco Ottaviano

Green Jobs and the Challenge of the Ecological Transition

According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), the United Nations agency that deals with the labor market, the transition towards a green economy can act as a new engine for growth thanks to the creation of “good” jobs in both advanced and developing countries. The ILO recognizes, though, that this outcome is certainly not guaranteed, because new green jobs will not automatically also be good jobs. They will become good only through effective action, adopting economic and social policies that help workers adapt to the new market dynamics. This means first of all policies aimed at ...

2021-11-02 Donato Masciandaro

Si vis pacem, para bellum: Afghanistan, the Taliban, and Financial Quarantine

The European Union is deciding if and when to reopen relations with the new government of Afghanistan. The EU, like almost all of the international community, has stated that it is worried about possible actions by the Taliban regime that could violate the population's civil and political rights. So it is not considering the possibility of a formal recognition of the regime. At the same time, there must be a decision on how to open a "calibrated relationship" with the Taliban government – the expression used by Brussels – to prevent other countries from gaining additional space, countries ...

2021-10-07 Gianmarco Ottaviano

Kabul, Beijing, and the Geopolitics of the Ecological Transition

Afghanistan is a land of treasure. Recently, the international press, and it appears, the new Taliban government as well, have been anxiously following the fate of the Bactrian treasure, discovered in the north of Afghanistan shortly before the Soviet invasion of 1979. In six tombs that can be dated from the first century BCE to the first century CE, archeologists led by Viktor Sarianidi found more than 20,000 artifacts, including gold amorettos, dolphins, divinities, and dragons studded with turquoise, cornel, and lapis lazuli, but also rings, coins, weapons, earrings, bracelets, necklaces, and ...

2021-08-27 Donato Masciandaro

ECB: The New Route Between Hawks and Doves

Last July, the president of the European Central Bank Christine Lagarde announced a strategy review of ECB monetary policy. There was great anticipation of what the new inflation target would be. The expectations were understandable: explicitly stating the inflation target, as we will see later, is the key to monetary policy, representing the main tool to orient expectations. The importance of the link between the inflation target and management of expectations is an issue on which hawks and doves can generally agree. But things change when we question the quantitative formulation of that target. It ...

2021-08-13 Gianmarco Ottaviano

Brexit and the City

In Italy, we cut red ribbons at Christmas when we open gifts. Across the Channel, cutting red ribbons is an obsession that dominates public debate, reaching a fever pitch when the European Union is involved. Naturally, we’re not talking about the ribbons used for holidays, but of “red tape,” the term used in the United Kingdom to refer to an apparently infinite series of bureaucratic procedures that prevent the animal spirits of the market from giving free play to their creative instincts. The use of the term red tape comes from the fact that in the past, legal documentation was in fact ...

2021-07-12 Donato Masciandaro

Interest Rates, Inflation, and Central Banks: Words Matter

Since last spring, the spotlight has been on the dynamic of interest rates, and on the effect they can have on the risk of inflation. Everything began last May, when the data relating to consumer price growth in the United States showed the largest increase since 2008. It was a sign of an economy with exuberant aggregate demand, that is reflected in both real and nominal economic growth. So it is normal for interest rates on US government bonds to have risen, along with the dollar exchange rate. From that time, the crucial question has been to understand how temporary this phenomenon of price ...

2021-06-07 Gianmarco Ottaviano

G7: The Big Step Forward on Global Taxation of Multinational Corporations

A “big step forward... towards an unprecedented global agreement on tax reform.” This is how the European Commission for Economy Paolo Gentiloni greeted the agreement reached in London during the last meeting of the finance ministers of the G7, the group of seven large countries formed by Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States, in which Gentiloni represented the European Union. The aim of the agreement is to work together to fight a certain type of tax avoidance at the international level, that according to some estimates, subtracts 240 billion dollars ...

2021-05-10 Donato Masciandaro

Sovreignism and Currency: Istanbul Today, Byzantium Yesterday

If a country goes through three central bank governors in two years, as happened in Turkey, it means that its monetary policy is not credible. So it's no wonder that the Turkish lira is suffering and inflation is galloping. At the end of March, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan fired the central bank governor Naci Ağbal, who had been appointed in November 2019, to take the place of Murat Uysal. In turn, Uysal had been appointed in July 2019 to replace Murat Çetinkaya. How can we explain this waltz at the central bank? Let's start from the beginning. The decree that removed Çetinkaya did ...

2021-04-14 Gianmarco Ottaviano

Brexit, Northern Ireland, and the Risks for Trade between the United Kingdom and the EU

What is the price of Brexit, and what has the United Kingdom gained from it? The violence seen in Northern Ireland starting last Good Friday is there to remind us that calculating the costs and benefits of a decision made on the tenuous boundary that separates economics and politics is not only premature, but also very complicated. The reason is that the context is unsettled, and while we begin to take stock of the first months since Brexit, unexpected clouds are forming on the horizon. We will start with what has happened so far to trade between the United Kingdom and the European Union. In January ...

2021-03-08 Donato Masciandaro

Biden and the Fed: a Bubbly New Deal?

Since January, the Fed has entered a new economic phase: it will have deal with the economic policy actions of Joe Biden, assisted by Janet Yellen. Many expect a "New Deal"; perhaps it is no coincidence that a portrait of Franklin Delano Roosevelt now hangs in the Oval Office, behind the new president. But what are the implications for fiscal and monetary policy? Let us start with the similarities and differences between the situation that the Biden-Powell duo must address and the situation Roosevelt faced ninety years ago. The common element could be the considerable economic recession. In truth, ...