Economic Policy Election2017 Europe inequality ZEIT ONLINE op-ed column

Trump’s brand of populism feeds on frustration and fear

January 20, 2017 is a historic day, with Donald Trump’s entry into office as the 45th U.S. President marking the beginning of a new era. Yet his inauguration is accompanied, at least among certain political circles, by a widespread anticipation of his failure – as well as the belief that it’s only a matter of time until everyone else catches on.

The prospect of a Trump presidency is generating collective concern around the globe: since he was elected in … [continue reading]

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Business Cycles, Growth, Economic Structure Currency and Financial Markets ECB Economic Policy Europe Foreign Trade and International Economic Relations

Germany’s Misunderstood Trade Surplus

Now that Germany’s current-account surplus has reached a record €270 billion ($285 billion), or close to 8.7% of GDP, the ongoing debate about its economic model has intensified. Eurozone politicians and Donald Trump’s administration in the United States are each blaming the other for the economic imbalance; and all are blaming the euro.

Trump’s administration, for its part, has attacked Germany for exporting too much, and accused it of manipulating the euro. In fact, Germany’s trade surplus has little to … [continue reading]

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Economic Policy ZEIT ONLINE op-ed column

Germany’s equal pay laws stuck in the Stone Age

This text was first published in German in  ZEIT ONLINE on January 13,  as part of the op-ed column “Fratzschers Verteilungsfragen“.

Women themselves are to blame for the fact that they earn less, and any laws governing equal pay would pose an unnecessary economic burden – right? Wrong.

Over the past few months, a contentious debate in Germany has been flaring up regarding the new “wage equality law” designed to help eliminate gender-based discrimination. Critics of the law argue that … [continue reading]

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Currency and Financial Markets Economic Policy Monetary Policy ZEIT ONLINE op-ed column

Germany’s savings madness

This text was also published in German in  ZEIT ONLINE on February 17,  as part of the op-ed column “Fratzschers Verteilungsfragen“.

Germany is generating substantial export surpluses – but the profits are being squandered abroad. The solution? Investing in Germany.

Since the year 2000, every German has lost an average of €7,500 euros in savings abroad.

How could that be? Didn’t our country just post a record surplus, exporting significantly more to its foreign partners than it is importing? Yes, … [continue reading]

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Economic Policy Foreign Trade and International Economic Relations

Curse of the Trade Surplus

This text was published in Handelsblatt Global Edition on February 13, 2017.

The criticism of Germany’s trade surpluses by the U.S. government has caused collective indignation here at home. Much of the criticism is not fair. Accusations that Germany manipulates the euro and misuses the European Union for its own interests are unwarranted. But there is also a kernel of truth that our European neighbors have been voicing for a long time: Germany’s trade surplus is tantamount to protectionism. That’s … [continue reading]

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Economic Policy Public Finances and Financial Economics ZEIT ONLINE op-ed column

No envy, please!

This text was also published in German in  ZEIT ONLINE on February 3,  as part of the op-ed column “Fratzschers Verteilungsfragen“.

“Time for fairness“ is the motto of the new candidate for Chancellor of the German Social Democrats, Martin Schulz, in his campaign against Angela Merkel. The slogan is bound to strike a chord in a country where 70 percent of the people feel that inequality is too high. But the issue of fairness should not be the one at … [continue reading]

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ECB Economic Policy Europe Foreign Trade and International Economic Relations

Making the Eurozone more resilient: What is needed now and what can wait?

This article was first published on VOXEU.org on June 25, 2016. 

Britain voted to leave the EU. This is terrible news for the UK, but it is also bad news for the Eurozone. Brexit opens the door to all sorts of shocks, and dangerous political snowball effects. Now is the time to shore up the Eurozone’s resiliency. The situation is not yet dire, but prompt action is needed. This VoxEU column – which is signed by a wide range of [continue reading]

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Economic Policy Europe Foreign Trade and International Economic Relations Public Finances and Financial Economics

Statement on the result of the Brexit referendum

The Brexit decision is a catastrophe for all Europeans. The economic costs will be enormous for all of Europe. Britain could slide back into recession. We at DIW Belin expect a 0.5 percentage points lower economic growth in Germany in 2017 as a result of lower German exports to the UK alone. The risk is highest for countries such as Italy, which are vulnerable and could slide even deeper into the financial crisis.
I expect major volatility in financial markets … [continue reading]

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Economic Policy Foreign Trade and International Economic Relations

Germany’s Strange Turn Against Trade

This article was first published on Project Syndicate on June 6, 2016.

The window of opportunity to complete the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the United States and the European Union is closing quickly. National elections will be held this year and next in the US, France, and Germany, and the campaigns will play out in an environment that is increasingly hostile to international agreements in any form. The biggest risk might come from the least likely source: … [continue reading]

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Currency and Financial Markets ECB Economic Policy Europe Macroeconomics Monetary Policy

Statement on the Decision of ECB’s Governing Council 06/02/2016

The ECB has signaled that low inflation is likely to persist even longer than previously feared. The new projections by the ECB have increased the probability of an extension of QE beyond March 2017. The ECB is putting great hopes into its new liquidity program for banks in order to improve credit to the private sector, strengthen the economy and thereby raise the inflation rate.… [continue reading]

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