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August 15, 2016

Sarkozy to declare his candidacy

The Republican primaries are only 100 days away and everybody is waiting for Nicolas Sarkozy to declare his candidacy by August 25 at the latest. Last week he gave a taster with a speech full of campaign slogans, with strongly populist proposals on security. Sarkozy is in favour of forbidding the veil in universities and enterprises, and the end of substitution meals in canteens. He also puts into question the automatic birthright. Sarkozy suggested creating the status of a "presumption of nationality", allowing not to grant nationality to those who have a criminal record or those whose parents entered illegally into the country, according to Les Echos. The proposals already made waves and provoked strong opposition, not only from the Socialists.

Dominque Moisi is quoted by the FT saying that Sarkozy remains a divisive figure in the sense that, the stronger his proposals, the more he rallies his supporters behind him and the more he isolates those against him. But Sarkozy caught up with Alain Juppé in the polls since the Nice attacks.

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August 15, 2016

Do intra-eurozone current account deficits matter?

Ignacio Ramirez Cisneros is asking a question we discussed intensely before the eurozone crisis: do intra-eurozone current account deficits matter? He argues that they should not matter provided that the central bank does its job. In particular, he takes issue with the IMF's critical review of its own role in the crises of Greece, Ireland and Portugal, in which it acknowledged that it was too complacent about the role of large current account imbalances. Cisneros argues that the IMF's original complacent position was indeed the correct one. What made the eurozone unsustainable were not the current account imbalances but the delayed and unequal response by the eurosystem to the sudden stop of capital inflows. The system should have made much more aggressive use of the emergency liquidity assistance, combined with outright asset purchases. And the monetary authority should also have recapitalised the banking system, rather than leaving this task to the fiscal authorities. Cisneros says the reasons for the eurosystem's failure to act have yet to be disclosed, but he surmises that it is probably due to a mistaken idea of what it means to preserve central bank independence. 

The problem with Cisneros' argument is that it ignores the legal and political underpinnings of the eurozone and the ECB. The ELA existed, and was used, but before the crisis there was no provision for outright debt purchases, and there is no provision for bank recapitalisation through the central bank. We, too, argued at the time that intra-eurozone current account deficit do not matter. But they did, and still do, because of those constraints, and because member states have not been willing to fix the problem.

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August 15, 2016

On the failures of modern macroeconomics

We have had quite a few discussions on the state of macroeconomics. These debates matter because economists continue to wield a huge influence on public debates, mostly recently during the Brexit referendum during which the profession made scary economic predictions, which we believe are vastly exaggerated and will be exposed as such.

In this context, we noted a discussion by Olivier Blanchard on the general uselessness of Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium models, the workhorse models used by macroeconomists in academia and central banking. One of the many shortcomings of these models is that they cannot take into account the presence of financial markets - or at least not those aspects of financial aspects that matter for the economy. Blanchard makes the point that these models hardly ever produce any original insights. Paul Krugman has been much more brutal in his discussion of Blanchard's paper, comparing the obsession with DSGE models with academic Marxism of the 1970s - which, too, did not care about whether it was right or wrong, only that it provided a framework. Krugman makes the point that one of the characteristic of any good model is the ability to make a surprising prediction that comes true. That has not happened here.

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  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • September 25, 2018
  • Be careful what you wish for - second referendum edition
  • July 10, 2017
  • EU in self-destruction mode
  • The EU's fault lines
  • Fake News and Fake views
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • August 20, 2018
  • ... and a subtle shift in EU policies towards both Russia and Turkey
  • Nothing to celebrate about the end of the bailout programme
  • Support for Brexit holding up
  • June 21, 2017
  • Why has the SPD deflated?
  • Berlusconi’s strategy
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • July 09, 2018
  • German panic about Target2
  • AfD level with SPD
  • How the EU could fail
  • June 01, 2017
  • On how to fix the eurozone
  • What happens if there is no Article 50 agreement?
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • June 18, 2019
  • Retaliation threats over drilling
  • May 28, 2018
  • A no-confidence motion that could backfire
  • The political repercussions of a historic referendum in Ireland
  • Why the lack of an international role for the euro matters
  • May 11, 2017
  • Germany rejects IMF’s policy recommendations before they are issued
  • Why Labour is losing
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • April 15, 2019
  • Finland's far right changes the game
  • Brexit party drawing almost even with the Tories
  • April 16, 2018
  • Italy's and Germany's pained response to the Syria attacks
  • On the end of the eurozone's economic honeymoon
  • Why Bulgaria should stay out of the euro
  • Where shall we meet after Brexit?
  • April 20, 2017
  • Don’t bet on Trump turning globalist
  • A note on UK election polls
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • January 31, 2019
  • EU will play hardball until February 14, and stick to backstop beyond
  • French left and right moves ahead of EP elections
  • Tighten the belts as the economy prepares for landing
  • February 27, 2018
  • Irish transport prepares for Brexit scenarios
  • One last Dutch referendum
  • Is the CDU a conservative party?
  • March 27, 2017
  • Governing formation troubles - Northern Ireland edition
  • Did Trump present Merkel with a bill for Nato?
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • November 19, 2018
  • May’s pushback is kicking in
  • January 08, 2018
  • Getting real on Brexit
  • Macron in China
  • March 02, 2017
  • Juncker's scenarios for Europe
  • EU minimum wages are rising
  • No, the Lords didn’t stop Brexit
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • June 12, 2019
  • What Spain wants from the EU
  • What to focus on in the Brexit procedure, and what not
  • August 28, 2018
  • Urban politics and national crisis - the Irish case
  • How anti-semitism became one of the main issues in British politics
  • November 15, 2017
  • A Christmas bonus for poor Greeks
  • Dim prospects of negotiated de-escalation on Catalonia
  • Macron's favourite to succeed Juncker - first round
  • On sovereignty
  • Gli Azzurri
  • February 03, 2017
  • The Schulz effect is getting huge
  • The post-Brexit boom goes on and on and on
  • A correction on Catalonia
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • February 18, 2019
  • How the splits on the left and the right will affect Brexit
  • June 04, 2018
  • German discourse out of control
  • Wait for European disunity on US tariffs
  • September 18, 2017
  • Why Germany cannot lead Europe, let alone the free world
  • Will Macron help to build up Mélenchon?
  • Boris' Coup
  • January 05, 2017
  • French Socialist primaries - old wine in new bottles
  • Le Pen's hard ecu
  • Will Tusk get a second mandate?
  • Themes of 2017
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • May 14, 2019
  • Trump gives Orbán his blessing
  • Outcome of Belgium's parliament election on Sunday totally open
  • Has Trump really got the economics of trade all wrong?
  • October 01, 2018
  • After the referendum, more turmoil in Macedonia
  • What will happen if the UK parliament votes No?
  • Barnier's no-thanks works much better than a yes-please
  • February 19, 2018
  • SPD divided over grand coalition
  • Wauquiez - the French Trump?
  • Why Brexit will be extremely hard to reverse
  • July 10, 2017
  • EU in self-destruction mode
  • The EU's fault lines
  • Fake News and Fake views
  • December 01, 2016
  • Will Italian expats swing the referendum result?
  • Why we keep on misreading the polls
  • Si vis pactum, para bellum
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • April 24, 2019
  • May's final and biggest gamble
  • Will the EP be Brexit's great parliamentary beneficiary?
  • Can Loiseau fight the far right given her past?
  • October 22, 2018
  • A week of intense political tension in the UK
  • Poland's local elections reveal deeply-split country
  • April 20, 2018
  • Macron at home
  • EU has rejected all UK proposals on Northern Irish border
  • Could there be a Five Star-Forza Italia government?
  • October 19, 2017
  • Germany is softening up over Brexit
  • The French budget and the wealthy
  • Will Borut Pahor win re-election as Slovenian president?
  • April 20, 2017
  • Don’t bet on Trump turning globalist
  • A note on UK election polls
  • October 21, 2016
  • Wallonia says No for the third time
  • Do you remember that Dutch referendum on Ukraine?
  • How narratives are destroying the EU
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • July 17, 2019
  • The dreaded scenario
  • Meet the Labour no-dealers
  • March 05, 2019
  • The most promising Brexit strategy we have heard yet
  • October 22, 2018
  • A week of intense political tension in the UK
  • Poland's local elections reveal deeply-split country
  • June 11, 2018
  • The end of the G7 - good riddance
  • Macron needs allies for his European agenda
  • Who is going to be the next director-general of the Italian treasury?
  • January 30, 2018
  • Will Puigdemont be Catalan premier today?
  • Some thoughts about the German car industry
  • A short note on Italian coalition maths
  • September 22, 2017
  • The last German polls
  • May 15, 2017
  • SPD and CDU disagree on how to respond to Macron
  • Was Rajoy blackmailed?
  • The rise of the re-leavers
  • January 05, 2017
  • French Socialist primaries - old wine in new bottles
  • Le Pen's hard ecu
  • Will Tusk get a second mandate?
  • Themes of 2017
  • August 30, 2016
  • Brexit facts on the ground
  • Burkinis and Republican primaries
  • The SPD and TTIP
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • July 22, 2019
  • Will Johnson go for elections?
  • How will von der Leyen handle the east?
  • June 07, 2019
  • Keep looking, gentlemen, said the King
  • Message from Peterborough
  • The decline of the grand coalition is accelerating
  • April 24, 2019
  • May's final and biggest gamble
  • Will the EP be Brexit's great parliamentary beneficiary?
  • Can Loiseau fight the far right given her past?
  • March 11, 2019
  • Ask what Europe can do for Germany - AKK's EU manifesto
  • January 28, 2019
  • Battle of the amendments
  • How the Prespes deal affects the next Greek elections
  • December 17, 2018
  • A second referendum is no closer today than last Friday
  • Philippe expects 3.2% deficit next year
  • November 05, 2018
  • Macron trails behind Le Pen in European elections poll
  • How the CDU will organise leadership campaign
  • September 27, 2018
  • Two ways out of the Brexit impasse
  • August 20, 2018
  • ... and a subtle shift in EU policies towards both Russia and Turkey
  • Nothing to celebrate about the end of the bailout programme
  • Support for Brexit holding up
  • July 02, 2018
  • Is Trump out to destroy both Nato and the EU?
  • Salvini’s empire
  • Remembrance as a way forward?
  • May 28, 2018
  • A no-confidence motion that could backfire
  • The political repercussions of a historic referendum in Ireland
  • Why the lack of an international role for the euro matters
  • April 23, 2018
  • More bad news for the SPD
  • Will Theresa May accept a customs union? The Times says yes. We think so too.
  • A comeback for Marine Le Pen?
  • March 19, 2018
  • Waiting for Germany
  • Russia’s friends
  • Can the Commons force an extension of the Art 50 period?
  • February 13, 2018
  • Will Zijlstra survive Dachagate? Will Rutte III?
  • Costa's initiative to cover Brexit shortfall
  • January 12, 2018
  • No, there won't be a second referendum
  • The Italian centre-right, too, is divided
  • Greek church raises the bar in name diplomacy with Macedonia
  • December 13, 2017
  • Danish government might fall over taxes and refugees
  • End-of-an-era mood in Germany
  • And now for the hard part
  • Property auctions - a ticking time bomb for Syriza?
  • November 14, 2017
  • The apolitical movement inside LREM
  • On the unity of the PD and the visions of the Italian left
  • A clarification on glyphosate
  • On freedom of movement
  • October 16, 2017
  • What‘s the deep meaning of the elections in Lower Saxony?
  • Can Brexit be revoked?
  • Macron's grand narrative
  • September 18, 2017
  • Why Germany cannot lead Europe, let alone the free world
  • Will Macron help to build up Mélenchon?
  • Boris' Coup
  • August 21, 2017
  • Soft, getting softer
  • Tsipras' chances of a boost
  • On the fallacy of a middle-ground option for the eurozone
  • July 13, 2017
  • Renzi at war with everybody
  • Referendum game gets real for Catalan government
  • Going about the Irish border issue
  • Brexit facts - who needs them?
  • June 19, 2017
  • SPD to focus on inequality
  • On radical uncertainty
  • May 25, 2017
  • The ECB is concerned about eurozone unemployment
  • The eurogroup’s failure to act
  • Some thoughts on UK election math
  • So who is the next most likely US ambassador to the EU?
  • May 02, 2017
  • An accident waiting to happen
  • Matteo Renzi wins PD primaries
  • So much for the Schulz effect
  • April 10, 2017
  • Nein, nein, nein, und nein
  • Sounds like a bad Brexit story, but ain’t
  • On how not to exit the euro
  • March 20, 2017
  • Does the language of communiques matter?
  • Spain snap election rumblings
  • Will there be a Brexit deal?
  • March 01, 2017
  • The threat of Frexit
  • Fear and loathing of a referendum in Spain
  • How to get around Theresa May’s little ECJ issue
  • Solve the problem
  • February 10, 2017
  • Brexit realism
  • How not to attack the populists
  • On German hegemony
  • January 23, 2017
  • What if the populists clash with one another?
  • Why the euro is a real problem for the German left
  • When you call the US, what number do you dial?
  • January 05, 2017
  • French Socialist primaries - old wine in new bottles
  • Le Pen's hard ecu
  • Will Tusk get a second mandate?
  • Themes of 2017
  • December 13, 2016
  • Pretending as though nothing had happened in Rome
  • Preparing narratives of who to blame
  • Pretending to criticise Turkey
  • The futility of the Article 127 challenge
  • November 28, 2016
  • And now what Monsieur Fillion?
  • The inescapable logic of an interim agreement
  • On Germany's foreign policy post-Trump
  • How to lose against the populists
  • November 14, 2016
  • The populists are winning
  • The Trump effect on the French Republican primaries
  • ND to target disenchanted Syriza voters
  • Debt repayment postponed to infinity
  • October 31, 2016
  • Will the quake help Renzi?
  • Is Montebourg an alternative to Hollande?
  • The trials of Geert Wilders
  • October 17, 2016
  • Ceta is dead for now
  • L’après-Hollande, c'est Hollande
  • SPD against Russia sanctions
  • Nissan to join customs union and other fanciful tales
  • October 07, 2016
  • Merkel and Hollande agree on hard Brexit
  • The cost of the PSOE's abstention
  • Citizens - the new gadget for election speeches
  • September 28, 2016
  • Sarkozy might have found his real enemy
  • Brexit delusions fading slowly
  • September 20, 2016
  • The Berlin aftermath
  • Tensions mounting at hotspots
  • Why a hard Brexit looks likely
  • Macron's godfather
  • September 12, 2016
  • Renzi and his internal opposition
  • September 05, 2016
  • The beginning of the end
  • Public safety concerns in Greece
  • MPs get no access to Apple ruling
  • August 31, 2016
  • Deflating hopes of a frustrated Brexit
  • August 26, 2016
  • Will the refugee crisis return?
  • Montebourg en avant
  • Moisi on Sarkozy's chances
  • Binary choices
  • August 22, 2016
  • Gold for Brexit
  • EU and Turkey talking past each other
  • Switzerland is the next migrant transit country
  • On the death of neoliberal economics
  • August 17, 2016
  • Towards Canada
  • Spain on hold
  • New candidates for French primaries
  • August 16, 2016
  • Brexit postponed? Not really.
  • Relations with Russia continue to deteriorate