Past Event

Lessons for the euro from early US monetary and financial history

The United States has a monetary union that many look to when considering the future of the EU. But how easy was it really to create such a union and what can Europe learn from the US process?

Date: May 25, 2016, 12:30 pm Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance

SUmmary

Professor Jeffry Frieden’s lecture highlighted that establishing a functioning monetary union in such a large and culturally-diverse country as the United States was a long, arduous, and crisis-laden process. The United States did not have a common currency until 1863, a modern central bank until 1913, or even a real fiscal union until the 1950’s.

Crafting a union which provided monetary, fiscal and financial stability was extremely hard in a country with massive macroeconomic divergences and banking fragmentation. In particular, the cultural differences between the economic centre of the country and its frontier, and their differing economic and political needs, created a lot of tension and disagreements on how to run monetary and fiscal policy: the frontier was expanding incredibly rapidly, which warranted easy credit and expansionary fiscal policy, while these policies were not seen as desirable by the creditors in the country’s more developed areas.

These differing economic situations, the balance of power between creditors and debtors, and the rise of economic populism ensured that the process towards the current financial and fiscal architecture of the United States was very slow and difficult, and are reminiscent of the current situation in Europe.

Professor Frieden drew a number of lessons for Europe from the American experience. Firstly, not everyone can be satisfied at all times: monetary policy is inherently political, and therefore it behoves us to think about the interests that are behind monetary policy. Fiscal and financial policy are also inherently political, especially during recoveries from debt crises.

Secondly, crafting a union is a long, hard road. The core difficulty in this process is the need to find a politically sustainable compromise between the legitimate concerns of the sub-units (states or nations), and the broader entity of the union. It took the United States an extremely long time and a civil war to resolve this issue.

Event summary by Álvaro Leandro, Research Assistant

VIDEO RECORDING

 

Schedule

May 25, 2016

12:30-13:00

Check-in and lunch

13:00-13:45

Lecture

Jeffry Frieden, Professor of Government, Harvard University

13:45-14:30

Audience Q+A

Chair: Guntram B. Wolff, Director

14:30

End

Speakers

Jeffry Frieden

Professor of Government, Harvard University

Guntram B. Wolff

Director

Location & Contact

Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels

Matilda Sevon

matilda.sevon@bruegel.org

Read article More on this topic More by this author

Opinion

Immigration: The doors of perception

Surveys show that people systematically overestimate the share of foreign-born citizens among resident populations. Aligning people's perceptions with reality is vital to the betterment of public debate and proposed policies.

By: Inês Goncalves Raposo Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: December 12, 2018
Read about event More on this topic

Past Event

Past Event

Emerging Trends in Competition Policy - A Global Perspective

How is global competition policy evolving given the challenges of the digital era?

Speakers: Cristina Caffarra, Antonio Capobianco, Kris Dekeyser, William Kovacic and Georgios Petropoulos Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: December 11, 2018
Read about event More on this topic

Past Event

Past Event

Environmental and economic effects of the EU ETS

What is the impact of the EU ETS on carbon emissions and economic performance of regulated companies?

Speakers: Sander de Bruyn, Antoine Dechezleprêtre, Beatriz Yordi Aguirre and Georg Zachmann Topic: Energy & Climate Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: December 6, 2018
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Opinion

The great macro divergence

Global growth is expected to continue in 2019 and 2020, albeit at a slower pace. Forecasters are notoriously bad, however, at spotting macroeconomic turning points and the road ahead is hard to read. Potential obstacles abound.

By: Jean Pisani-Ferry Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: December 5, 2018
Read about event More on this topic

Past Event

Past Event

Civil society for the digital age

What is the place of civil society in the digital age as well as the role of technology in society?

Speakers: Eline Chivot, Orla Lynskey, Bertin Martens, Georgios Petropoulos, Thiébaut Weber and Glen Weyl Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: December 4, 2018
Read about event More on this topic

Past Event

Past Event

How to speed up sustainable finance?

Which steps are needed to really change current practices and speed up sustainable finance?

Speakers: Sophie Barbier, Molly Scott Cato, Cathrine de Coninck-Lopez, Alain Deckers, Edmund Lakin and Dirk Schoenmaker Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: November 28, 2018
Read about event More on this topic

Past Event

Past Event

Reviewing the EU fiscal framework

What are the positive and negative developments and is there scope for improvement?

Speakers: Niels Thygesen and Anne-Laure Delatte Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: November 22, 2018
Read about event

Past Event

Past Event

European Banking Supervision: the past five years and prospects for the future

This event will look back at the first five years of the Single Supervisory Mechanism.

Speakers: Danièle Nouy and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Finance & Financial Regulation Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: November 20, 2018
Read about event More on this topic

Past Event

Past Event

Does Europe’s anti-money laundering framework need a regime change?

Proposal for a more efficient fight against money laundering.

Speakers: Raluca Alexandra Pruna, Joshua Kirschenbaum, Tobias Mackie, Olaf Rachstein and Nicolas Véron Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: November 15, 2018
Read about event More on this topic

Past Event

Past Event

Distributional effects of climate policies

How do we design climate policies to minimize adverse distributional effects?

Speakers: Elena Jachia, Elena Verdolini and Georg Zachmann Topic: Energy & Climate Location: Centro Congressi Fondazione Cariplo, Via Romagnosi, 8, 20121 Milano MI, Italy Date: November 14, 2018
Read about event

Past Event

Past Event

Brussels Briefing Live: A conversation with Nadia Calviño

The Minister of Finance from Spain discusses challenges ahead of the European Council in December

Speakers: Guntram B. Wolff, Nadia Calviño and Mehreen Khan Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Finance & Financial Regulation Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: November 6, 2018
Read about event More on this topic

Past Event

Past Event

Europe: Back to the future of a political project

This event will feature a discussion on different ideas for reforming European Governance.

Speakers: Ulrike Guerot, Adriaan Schout and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: October 23, 2018
Load more posts