A Fiscal Stabilisation Function for the Eurozone
The May/June Intereconomics issue features a Forum based on presentations at our recent conference, 'A Fiscal Stabilisation Function for the Eurozone'. While debate over such a function has ebbed and flowed for decades, our authors roundly agree that the time has come for it to become a reality in some form. Our Editorial analyses recent statements from the European Commission that seem to legitimise the idea of a multispeed Europe, where subgroups of member states are allowed to further integrate without the consent of the entire EU. Elsewhere, this issue's diverse range of articles cover gender inequality, autonomous driving and even the effect of macroeconomic performance on happiness. Finally, our Letter from America looks at the rights of the American worker in the age of Trump.
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The Five Presidents' Report of 2015 called for a macroeconomic stabiliser that would be capable of dealing with asymmetric shocks to the eurozone. A European unemployment benefits scheme (EUBS) is one of many potential stabilisation mechanisms that have been put forward over the years. The papers in this Forum, based on a recent Intereconomics conference, search for solutions that can overcome the political resistance to risk sharing in order to secure the economic benefits of risk reduction. Authors include Frank Vandenbroucke, Iain Begg, Sebastian Dullien and Nicolas Carnot.
Book Presentation and Discussion
Thomas Straubhaar and Philippe Van Parijs are two of the biggest names in the study of a universal basic income. Both authors have recently published books on the subject, and Intereconomics will host them on 7 June 2017 at the Leibniz Information Centre for Economics (ZBW) in Hamburg to present their arguments. A discussion will follow on the practicalities of universal basic income, led by Gerhard Bosch. Further details and registration information can be found here.
Additional Highlights from the Current Issue
Dean Baker describes the current state of affairs in US labor rights. While the libertarian-leaning Trump Administration should spell doom for the enshrined rights of American workers, Baker suggests that there are actually a few glimmers of hope, specifically with regard to a higher minimum wage and more paid time off for family leave or sick days.
Annette Bongardt and Francisco Torres offer a criticism of the EU's current strategy of pursuing comprehensive bilateral trade agreements underpinned by far-reaching bilateral rules that govern the relationship. They argue that these comprehensive deals centralise trade decisions at the supranational level, leaving little room for the heterogeneous competences of the member states to be taken into account.
Quote of the Month
If the [U.S.] minimum wage had continued to track productivity growth in the years since 1968, it would be almost $20 an hour today, more than two and a half times its current level.
from Dean Baker's Letter from America Hints of Progress for Labor in the United States