Blog Post

Nobel Prize Lecture and the European Return of Hamilton

The “Fiscal Compact” signed by 25 Member States on March the 2nd has been welcomed by many as the proof that Europeans are obsessed with fiscal discipline. Since the beginning of the year, more and more articles drawing comparisons between the US after the War for Independence back in the 1780s and the current situation […]

By: Date: March 13, 2012 Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance

The “Fiscal Compact” signed by 25 Member States on March the 2nd has been welcomed by many as the proof that Europeans are obsessed with fiscal discipline. Since the beginning of the year, more and more articles drawing comparisons between the US after the War for Independence back in the 1780s and the current situation in Europe have been published.

Randall Henning and Martin Kessler do it for a Bruegel essay. In their conclusions they call for a unified “bank regulation and (…) a common fiscal pool for restructuring the banking system” in the Eurozone. Harold James, from Princeton University and the European University Institute, also covers this comparison in his project-syndicate post arguing that collective debt-sharing mechanisms along with a “greater degree of political accountability and control at European level” is only long-run viable solution for Europe.

The pioneer in this sense, however, has been the 2011 Nobel Price winner, Thomas John Sargent.  He discussed the topic in his Nobel Price lecture, the transcript of which has been recently released. In his opinion, the US were even more obsessed with fiscal discipline than Europe when they became a federation. Fiscal decisions came before the establishment of a central monetary authority and they rightly did so. The majority of the debt was due to the inability of the central government to raise revenues in order to pay back its creditors. Social security spending was not as developed as today. Even with a small overall budget (2%-3% of GDP), the federal government of US in 1790 was able to allocate 40% of its revenues to servicing its debt.

Alexander Hamilton, the Secretary of Treasury appointed by the Congress in 1989, was able to make creditors believe in the federal government’s capacity to honour its debt by creating a fiscal union. From that moment onwards a series of events, some of them highly painful as the 1840’s crisis, led the US to modify the original federal set-up put in place by Hamilton and adopt their actual system. Now it is time for Europe to find her way out of the crisis. Could a European return of Hamilton be the solution to the whole problem? Or is the crisis a multidimensional phenomenon requiring a more complex strategy to be solved as suggested by Jean Pisani-Ferry’s Bruegel Policy Contribution?


Republishing and referencing

Bruegel considers itself a public good and takes no institutional standpoint. Anyone is free to republish and/or quote this post without prior consent. Please provide a full reference, clearly stating Bruegel and the relevant author as the source, and include a prominent hyperlink to the original post.


Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /home/bruegelo/public_html/wp-content/themes/bruegel/content.php on line 449
View comments
Read about event

Upcoming Event

Jan
24
12:30

Corporate taxation in the digital era

How can we address digital taxation in the EU? Is the proposed "equalisation tax" on turnover the best policy to tackle the challeges posed by digital taxation?

Speakers: Johannes Becker, Dmitri Jegorov, Maria Demertzis, Stephen Quest, Stef van Weeghel and Georgios Petropoulos Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Innovation & Competition Policy Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels
Read article Download PDF More on this topic

Blueprint

People on the move: migration and mobility in the European Union

Migration is one of the most divisive policy topics in today’s Europe. In this publication, the authors assess the immigration challenge that the EU faces, analyse public perceptions, map migration patterns in the EU and review the literature on the economic impact of immigration to reflect on immigration policies and the role of private institutions in fostering integration.

By: Uuriintuya Batsaikhan, Zsolt Darvas and Inês Goncalves Raposo Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: January 22, 2018
Read about event

Past Event

Past Event

A conversation with Jin Liqun, president of AIIB

We were pleased to host Jin Liqun, the president of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank at Bruegel.

Speakers: Sven Biscop, Guntram B. Wolff and Jin Liqun Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation, Global Economics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: January 22, 2018
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Blog Post

The financial side of the productivity slowdown

Scholars have devoted much research to the “productivity puzzle” that has emerged after the crisis, and some are investigating the role of financial frictions and capital allocation in relation to this phenomenon.

By: Silvia Merler Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: January 22, 2018
Read about event More on this topic

Upcoming Event

Jan
29
09:30

Integration of migrants in the EU

This event will discuss the integration of migrants in the EU as well as the EU's response to the recent refugee crisis

Speakers: Manu Bhardwaj, Herbert Brücker, Jutta Cordt, Zsolt Darvas, Naika Foroutan, Marcel Fratzscher, Manjula M. Luthria and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Location: Mohrenstraße 58, 10117 Berlin, Germany
Read about event More on this topic

Upcoming Event

Jan
30
12:30

Why think tanks matter in the era of digital and political disruptions

Bruegel is pleased to host this panel discussion as part of the global launch of the 2018 Global Go To Think Tank Index, published by the University of Pennsylvania’s Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program.

Speakers: Matt Dann, Shada Islam, Blanche Leridon and Hlib Vyshlinsky Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels
Read about event More on this topic

Upcoming Event

Feb
2
10:30

Europe’s immigration and integration challenges: Financial and labour market dimensions

The event, organised by Bruegel in cooperation with the Institute for International Affairs will discuss these and related questions and will also feature the launch in Rome of the study authored by Zsolt Darvas on the impact and integration of migrants in the European Union.

Speakers: Roberto Ciciani, Zsolt Darvas, Marcela Escobari, Tatiana Esposito, Manjula M. Luthria, Carlo Monticelli, James Politi and Nathalie Tocci Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Location: Rome, Italy
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Podcast

Podcast

Remaking Europe

This instalment of the Sound of Economics features Bruegel fellows Reinhilde Veugelers, Simone Tagliapietra and J. Scott Marcus explain how European industries are adapting to new manufacturing, and what more can be done to help EU countries and companies keep pace with the burgeoning 'Industry 4.0'

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: January 19, 2018
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Blog Post

Macroprudential policy: The Maginot line of financial stability

The ability of macroprudential policies to assure financial stability and thus leave central banks free to assign the interest rate tool exclusively to price stability is unproven. As the Maginot line did not protect France from a German invasion in WWII, so macroprudential policy may not be sufficient to counter financial instability. Central banks should prepare to deal with dilemmas in the use of the interest rate.

By: Francesco Papadia Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: January 17, 2018
Read article Download PDF More on this topic

External Publication

Reconciling risk sharing with market discipline: A constructive approach to euro area reform

This publication, written by a group of independent French and German economists, proposes six reforms which, if delivered as a package, would improve the Eurozone’s financial stability, political cohesion, and potential for delivering prosperity to its citizens, all while addressing the priorities and concerns of participating countries.

By: Agnès Bénassy-Quéré, Markus K. Brunnermeier, Henrik Enderlein, Emmanuel Farhi, Marcel Fratzscher, Clemens Fuest, Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, Philippe Martin, Jean Pisani-Ferry, Hélène Rey, Isabel Schnabel, Nicolas Véron, Beatrice Weder di Mauro and Jeromin Zettelmeyer Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: January 17, 2018
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Opinion

It is safer to rely on what we know, rather than speculate on what may happen

"Does the Conventional Wisdom About Productivity Need To Be Reconsidered?" On a recent collection of opinions, Marek Dabrowski was invited to give his views on this question.

By: Marek Dabrowski Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: January 16, 2018
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Blog Post

A few good (wo)men – on the representation of women in economics

Last week, the American Economics Association Annual Meetings held a session on Gender Issues in Economics and later announced that a new code of professional conduct is in the pipeline. In this blogs review we revise the recent contributions on female representation and perception in economics.

By: Inês Goncalves Raposo Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: January 15, 2018
Load more posts