Economy & Markets

Edited by Donato Masciandaro and Gianmarco Ottaviano

2020-07-28 Donato Masciandaro

Finance, Oversight, and Fraud: the case of Wirecard

In the month of June, the Wirecard scandal erupted in Germany. Let's recall the main events. Until that time, Wirecard was mostly known as a success story among companies that use technology to produce banking and financial services. These are firms that some love to call "financial unicorns:" the noun evokes the special nature - whether true or presumed - of the technology used, and the adjective the activity in the sector of banking and finance. But all of the sudden, a statement released by the Central Bank of the Philippines confirmed some important news: Wirecard has a budget hole of almost ...

Recovery fund
2020-07-15 Gianmarco Ottaviano

Recovery Fund: How to Distribute the Resources among Member States?

The Member States of the European Union are currently engaged in difficult negotiations on the Recovery Fund, the fund of 750 billion euros whose purpose is to help European regions recover from the Covid-19 shock. The public debate is dominated by the question of "conditionalities," that is, to what extent the provision of the funds must be conditional upon specific economic policy choices by the beneficiary countries. Although important, this question risks overshadowing another decisive issue, that of the criteria for allocation of the resources among the Member States. Should the EU favor ...

Banche nazionali
2020-06-11 Donato Masciandaro

Bank and Country, the Two Faces of Financial Nationalism

In the months that have just passed, in advanced countries the banks have been the chain of transmission of urgent policy interventions, designed by governments to sustain the aggregate demand for goods and services. Time will tell us what strategy is most effective. Let’s look ahead, though. To do so, like Giano, we will concentrate on what happened in Italy before the pandemic recession began. In at least two cases - that of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and that of the Banca Popolare di Bari - the Italian political class has been faced with a question that will certainly arise again ...

2020-05-18 Gianmarco Ottaviano

We Are Not All in the Same Boat

The COVID-19 pandemic is hitting the economies of every country in the world harshly, provoking an unprecedented employment emergency in many of them. An emblematic case, due to the importance of the country and the speed of the effects, is that of the United States. Before the pandemic, the US economy was on a solid track, with an unemployment rate that had reached a historic low of 3.5 percent in February, when China had already stopped. In March, when Europeans began to hole up at home, the US employment rate had risen to a moderate 4.4 percent. Just one month later, the data for April (the ...

Terzo re
2020-03-29 Donato Masciandaro

The Rise of the Third King

In the weeks of the coronavirus, everything that has happened - or not happened - in American economic and monetary policy has immediately reverberated around the world, including through the channel represented by the dollar. It is no coincidence that the first coordinated action between the central banks of the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Japan, Switzerland, and Canada was a dual intervention - the first on the 15th and the second on the 20th of March - aimed at strengthening dollar repo channels between the Fed and other central banks, both in terms of volumes, that ...

2020-03-16 Donato Masciandaro

Coronavirus and Central Banks: Two False Steps

Modern monetary policy is based on facts and words. In dealing with the emergence of the macroeconomic risk of the coronavirus the Fed has gotten the facts wrong, while the ECB has gotten the words wrong. Let us see why. In general terms, the coronavirus belongs to the macroeconomic family of rare events. As such, its effects on the dynamics of the choices of families, businesses, and financial markets can be both significant and at the same time unpredictable, both in terms of extent and duration. So the coronavirus is a catalyst for uncertainty, that places every central bank in front of a temporal ...

2020-03-09 Gianmarco Ottaviano

Post-Brexit Negotiations: It’s Time to be Pragmatic

In the first week of March, the negotiations between the European Union and the United Kingdom began on future relations after Brexit. To begin to understand how things will develop, it’s useful to define the situation, rapidly reviewing the fundamental steps taken recently on both sides of the Channel. Almost four years after the British referendum on Brexit, on January 31, 2020, the United Kingdom left the European Union - and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom). The method of withdrawal is governed by the “Withdrawal Agreement,” that regulates the credit and debit relationships ...

2020-01-10 Gianmarco Ottaviano

Brexit 2.0: The Chickens Come Home to Roost

Has something really changed for Brexit after Boris Johnson’s triumph in the recent British parliamentary elections? It certainly seems that way, but not for the reasons many people believe, that is, that clarity has finally been reached on the will of the people, who’s in charge in a democracy, and what type of Brexit we can expect. Boris Johnson’s Conservatives won the elections, with an 80-seat majority (their largest majority since 1987) thanks to 43.6 percent of the vote (the highest percentage of any party since 1979). With that majority Johnson will no longer have to duel with a largely ...

2019-12-04 Donato Masciandaro

Lagarde, A Wise Owl Between Hawks and Doves

The handover of responsibility from Mario Draghi to the new president of the European Central Bank Christine Lagarde was marked by three aspects: two results, and one question. The two results regard the ability to implement unconventional monetary policies and the reliability of the Bank's institutional structure. The question regards the future. The first result can be appreciated by remembering that Draghi's term coincided with macroeconomic events that were extraordinary, in the literal sense of the term. The dual recession that the European Union suffered in the years between 2008 and 2013 ...

2019-11-18 Gianmarco Ottaviano

What Globalization Has to Do with the Football Industry

Globalization changes the conduct of companies. On the one hand, they have access to new international markets, while on the other, they have to deal with new competitors on their own domestic markets. Yet there is an underlying asymmetry. While all companies suffer the harm due to the increase of internal competition, only the most efficient are able to offset that with the benefits linked to greater penetration of foreign markets. The reason is that access to those markets entails additional costs. Some are determined by greater complexity in logistics and distribution of products abroad. Others ...