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Policy Contribution

Poor and under pressure: the social impact of Europe’s fiscal consolidation

This Policy Contribution evaluates social indicators that can have a bearing on poverty, looks at the fiscal consolidation strategies of EU member states and assesses the possible links between fiscal consolidation and social developments.

By: and Date: March 31, 2015 European Macroeconomics & Governance Tags & Topics

  • Europe faces major challenges related to poverty, unemployment and polarisation between the south and the north, which impact adversely the current living conditions of many citizens, and also negatively impact medium- and long-term economic growth.
  • Fiscal consolidation exaggerated social hardship. In vulnerable countries there was no alternative to fiscal consolidation, but in most EU countries and at aggregate EU level, consolidation was premature when the cyclical position of the economy was deteriorating.
  • Spending on social protection was shielded relative to other spending categories, but public bank rescue costs were high. While the changes in the tax mix favoured job creation, the overall tax burden become more regressive.
  • There is an increasing generational divide between the elderly and the young in terms of social indicators. Social spending on elderly people was favoured relative to spending on families, children and education. There is now a serious danger that a lost generation might develop in several member states.
  • Forceful policies should include bold structural reforms, better use of the European economic governance framework, more demand promotion, and a revision of national tax/benefit systems for fair burden sharing between the wealthy and poor.
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Inclusive growth in the European Union

Why is inclusive growth important and how do the EU’s social problems differ from social problems in other parts of the world?

Speakers: Brando Benifei, Monica Brezzi, Bea Cantillon, Zsolt Darvas, Jana Hainsworth, Stefaan Hermans, Barbara Kauffmann, Dalia Marin, Tim Murphy, Reinhilde Veugelers, Luca Visentini and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels
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Speech by Jeroen Dijsselbloem at Bruegel Annual Dinner 2016

Jeroen Dijsselbloem, President f the Eurogroup, delivered the keynote speech at Bruegel's Annual Dinner 2016, held on 6 September 2016.

By: Jeroen Dijsselbloem Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: September 7, 2016
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External Publication

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Seven years after the crisis: intersecting perspectives

This joint publication brings together the papers produced as part of the first collaboration between Bruegel and the OCP Policy Center. Within the theme of “Seven Years after the Crisis: Intersecting Perspectives” our two organisations launched a “Platform for Advanced & Emerging Economies Policy Dialogue” in Rabat on 1 April 2016.

By: Rim Berahab, Nuria Boot, Uri Dadush, Karim El Aynaoui, Karim El Mokri, Simone Tagliapietra, Karen E. Wilson, Guntram B. Wolff and Georg Zachmann Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: August 19, 2016
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How to make the single market more inclusive after Brexit

The creation of the single market generated winners and losers. Yet redistribution remains first and foremost a competence of national governments. It is thus fair to state that a failure in national, more than European, policies and welfare systems can be partly blamed for current discontent with the EU and the single market.

By: Alessio Terzi Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: August 18, 2016
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Racial prejudice in police use of force

What’s at stake: This week was dominated by a new study by Roland Fryer exploring racial differences in police use of force. His counterintuitive result that blacks and Hispanics experience discrimination for all types of interaction involving force except for officer involved shootings provoked debate after the study was published on Monday.

By: Jérémie Cohen-Setton Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: July 18, 2016
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Brexit vote boosts case for inclusive growth

In the United Kingdom’s Brexit referendum, income inequality and poverty boosted ‘leave’ votes, in addition to geographical differences and larger shares of uneducated and older people in UK regions, according to my regression analysis. The actual presence of immigrants did not have a significant effect on the results. Disadvantaged people voted in smaller proportions. Turnout was also low among the young and residents of Scotland, Northern Ireland and London, who were more likely to vote ‘remain’.

By: Zsolt Darvas Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: July 13, 2016
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Policy Contribution

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An Italian job: the need for collective wage bargaining reform

Italy’s current system of centralised wage bargaining needs to be reformed. The system was designed without regard for the underlying industrial structure and geographical heterogeneity of the Italian economy. This has fostered perverse incentives and imbalances within Italy.

By: Alessio Terzi Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: July 6, 2016
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Spanish unemployment and the effects of the 2012 labour market reform

What’s at stake: Spain is currently the EU country with the second highest level of unemployment, after Greece. The high and persistent level of unemployment and the appropriate labour market reforms are a major topic of discussion in Spain. We review arguments made in the blogosphere and by international organisations on the reasons for Spain’s stubbornly high unemployment, and various assessments of the labour market reforms of 2012.

By: Alvaro Leandro and Jaume Martí Romero Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: July 4, 2016
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The cyclicality of structural reforms

What’s at stake: In line with the crisis-induced reform hypothesis, European countries have since 2010 enacted unpopular reforms in labour market regulation and social welfare systems.

By: Jérémie Cohen-Setton Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: June 13, 2016
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Past Event

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The United States and Europe: Short-term divergence but shared challenges

Europe and the United States have had divergent experiences since the economic crisis. But they share several challenges in the years ahead: slowing productivity growth, rising inequality, and falling labour force participation. How can those challenges be turned into opportunities?

Speakers: Jason Furman, Natacha Valla and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: Global Economics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: May 11, 2016
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Past Event

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Active labour market policies, what works?

How are Europe's labour markets performing, and what policies can best help them function?

Speakers: Alfonso Arpaia, Clyde Caruana, Grégory Claeys, Dan Finn, Regina Konle-Seidl, Alfred Mifsud, Godwin Mifsud, Edward Scicluna and Paul Swaim Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Location: Mediterranean Conference Centre Triq l-Isptar, Valletta, Malta Date: April 27, 2016
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Japan needs labour market reform, not just higher wages

The Japanese government is trying to boost wages, but this is not enough to jumpstart growth. Japan needs to reform its labour market to increase the number of women in the workforce and boost labour productivity.

By: Alicia García-Herrero Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: April 14, 2016
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