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The Sound of Economics

The Sound of Economics

Author: Bruegel

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The Sound of Economics brings you insights, debates, and research-based discussions on economic policy in Europe and beyond.

The podcast is produced by Bruegel, an independent and non-doctrinal think tank based in Brussels. It seeks to contribute to European and global economic policy-making through open, fact-based, and policy-relevant research, analysis, and debate.
340 Episodes
In their toolkit against a pandemic that knows no borders, several EU countries have bet on new technology from our era of globalisation: digital contact tracing COVID-19 apps. But the way they've been rolled out illustrate troublesome limits to the EU digital single market.
In this episode we discuss financial fragility in European households in the time of COVID-19.    Before the pandemic hit, a substantial share of households reported that they would be unable to handle a financial emergency. In some EU countries, many had savings equivalent to just a few weeks of basic consumption.   Giuseppe is joined by Maria Demertzis, deputy director at Bruegel, and Anna Maria Lusardi, Academic Director of the George Washington University Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center who have authored a paper published by Bruegel on the topic What did they find out, about how households finances have been impacted by the pandemic so far? Episode's guests: Maria Demertzis, Deputy Director, Bruegel  Anna Maria Lusardi, Academic Director of the George Washington University Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center Hosted by: Giuseppe Porcaro, head of outreach and governance at Bruegel   
In a special live edition podcast of an event we organised recently with EU3D, we discuss how the current situation brought upon by the pandemic could shift the ‘Conference on the Future of Europe’ debate, whether EU treaty changes are back on on the agenda and what this would imply for the relation of the EU with its closely affiliated non-members. Guntram Wolff is joined by Gabriele Bischoff, Member of the European Parliament, John Erik Fossum, Professor at the ARENA Centre for European Studies, University of Oslo and EU3D coordinator Kalypso Nicolaïdis.
The response to COVID crisis necessitates a lot of cash. So will the upcoming green transition.  But with Brexit, Europe lost its easy and practical access to the world’s largest financial market. So is today the right time to create a European capital markets union, with only one rule to ring them all; one rule to bind all 27 capital markets in the EU?
S6: Reopening: Europe

S6: Reopening: Europe


Since the end of May and throughout the month of June, many European Countries have lifted or loosened the lockdown measures set in place to fight the spread of the virus.  One of the last measures still in place is the closure of international borders, which to some extent brought back to the memory a closed Europe, and border checkpoints, which many of our listeners that born after 1989 probably bene experienced, at least on the scale we have had.  As this is somewhat an atypical and historical moment, we are going to embark in a peculiar journey, starting on Friday 12 June. Bruegel is supporting a project driving across 7 Countries and more that 2.500 kilometres to collect facts about how the border closure affected the economy and society, take a “temperature reading” of the perceptions of people, and make an analysis out of it.  It is an exciting endeavour that sees Bruegel on the road, after these months of lockdown and countless zoom livestreams. It will provide a snapshot of the impact on the ground also of the European policies which we are more of a commonplace in our studies and in this podcast.  You will be able to follow us on the road on the Bruegel channels, as well as the project website  This episode provides a background overview of the impact of the reopening on European value chains, future of work, and innovation.  Guests Scott Marcus, senior fellow, Bruegel Niclas Poiters, research fellow, Bruegel Reinhilde Veugelers, senior scholar, Bruegel Host Giuseppe Porcaro, head of outreach and governance, Bruegel
The euro is, by definition an international currency. However, since being established in the late 90s the single currency has always been somewhat less than the sum of it's parts and has yet to challenge the US dollar for global dominance. Its international status declined with the euro crisis of 2008.  Could the reform of the institutional setup of the monetary union that many are arguing for in the wake of the covid-19 crisis boost the euro's status as a global currency? Episode guests: Guntram Wolff, Bruegel Director   Alicia Garcia Herrero, senior fellow at Bruegel  Grégory Claeys, senior fellow at Bruegel Hosted by: Giuseppe Porcaro, head of outreach and governance at Bruegel
The first country to be hit by the current pandemic, China has been at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19. What have been its impacts on the Chinese economy? What does it represent, more broadly, to the global economy? Are global supply chains really starting to be put into question? Today, Giuseppe Porcaro is joined by Alicia García-Herrero and Yiping Huang, Professor of Economics and Finance at the Peking University. This podcast is a member of the Europod network. 
The German Constitutional called today on the ECB to justify its bond-buying program. What does today's ruling of the German Constitutional Court mean for the ECB's QE program? Could such a decision open a precedent when it comes to contesting EU law? Today, Giuseppe Porcaro and Guntram Wolff are joined by Franz Mayer, chair of Public Law at the University of Belefield, to analyse the German Constitutional Court's ruling. This podcast is a member of the Europod network. 
Without a robust healthcare system and lack of medical equipment, emerging market economies are vulnerable to the current COVID-19 pandemic. How can developed countries help tackle the issue? Is international cooperation more needed than ever? This week, Giuseppe Porcaro and Guntram Wolff are joined by Barry Eichengreen to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on emerging markets.
On April 23, EU leaders met virtually to try to come to an agreement for a common European response to the COVID-19 pandemic. What were the measures taken? Will they be sufficient? Did Europe come together for a coordinated response to the crisis? Or did the meeting further highlight the cracks between member states? This week, Guntram Wolff and Giuseppe Porcaro are joined by Maria Demertzis and André Sapir to comment on the EU Council meeting.  This podcast is a member of the Europod network. 
After its longest meeting ever, the Eurogroup reached an agreement yesterday evening. What does the agreement say? What does it mean in terms of the emergency reaction to the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic? What does it mean, more broadly, for the future of Europe? This week, Giuseppe Porcaro is joined by Maria Demertzis, André Sapir and Guntram Wolff to discuss whether the Eurogroup can save the day. This podcast is a member of the Europod network.  The podcast started by the participants giving their view on the deal that was closed last night by the Eurogroup. Guntram Wolff noted that is was good to have a deal, even if it is small in his view. André Sapir also expressed reserved satisfaction for the deal. He was however not surprised, as more could only come from the heads of state and that it is part of the Eurogroup’s habits to increase firepower over time. Maria Demertzis found it is surprising that the longest ever Eurogroup meeting led to such a small result and though this was a bad signal. She did agree with her co-panellists that some agreement was better than no agreement in this case.     Jumping into the debate, the panellists were asked to reflect on what the measures meant in more detail. André Sapir started by mentioning that of the €540 billion announced, about half (€240 billion) would be provided by the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), each Member State would have access to a credit line equivalent to 2% of their GDP. He added that it was clear however that not all Member States would use the ESM credit line making the €240 billion a maximum rather than the actual amount deployed. Guntram Wolff agreed with this and noted that the ESM was after all a stopgap in case borrowing from the markets became less accessible for a certain country. He added that the ESM package also reflected a movement towards a larger role for fiscal policy in the Euro Zone which was positive. In addition, he noted that it was still the ECB, which through its interventions, is keeping the yields of countries like Italy down and allows them to implement ambitious economic support packages. On the same line, Maria Demertzis agreed and stated that while countries like the Netherlands and Germany do not need ESM credit lines, even countries such as Italy or Span might not use them, as they do not which to be subjected to the conditionality that is attached to it.    Afterwards, the panel went on to discuss the other measures that were part of the package agreed upon by the Eurogroup. Maria Demertzis expressed her satisfaction about the common unemployment insurance, temporary Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency (SURE), which putting aside its relatively small size, is a step in the right direction. Indeed, it provides an automatic stabilizer and could set a good precedent. André Sapir expressed more reservation about whether SURE would one day become a permanent tool, given that its temporary nature is clear in the text. Guntram Wolff agreed that SURE was a good tool as it operates through credit guarantees and through the Commission’s budget. This means that money could be better directed at countries that need it the most.    The panellists followingly discussed issues related to the Italian economy and whether this would lead to debt sustainability issues. Guntram Wolff mentioned that the economic downturn in Italy is likely to be huge, not so much because it was badly affected by the pandemic, but because tourism represents a large share of its economy. He did not think, however, that Italian debt would become unsustainable, at least not as long as yields remained low thanks to the ECB. He therefore argued that Italy should have a large economic support programme. Maria Demertzis was less convinced that Italy did not run any debt sustainability risks due to the current crisis. She noted that while yields mattered, the stock of debt and economic growth were also key determinants of debt sustainability. While the ECB would have to roll over Italian debt indefinitely and probably further expand its Italian debt holdings, low growth could still lead to a bad equilibrium. She called for a deeper reflection into options to monetize debt in order to keep it sustainable. Guntram Wolff agreed and added that the real limits were political and legal in this discussion.    The panellists were asked to conclude with some final thoughts. André Sapir noted that it was important to keep in mind the needs of non-Euro Zone EU Member States, even if they appeared less affect by the pandemic for the moment. Maria focused on a quote from the final text of the agreement that she was positive about: “a response commensurate with the size of crisis”.  She explained that it was reflective of the new awareness of the Eurogroup about the urgency of the situation. Guntram Wolff concluded with two final remarks. First, that one should not only look at the size of the Eurogroup’s package but rather at the size of fiscal support at a national level. Second, although the idea of a federal Europe seems desirable it remains distant, but it is in the interest of all Eurozone countries to help struggling neighbours and this should be reflected by the politics as well. 
Economics seems to be full of myths that are hard to debunk. Will robots take our jobs? Are trade deficits bad? Is China such a big economy simply because of the size of its population? This week, Nicholas Barrett, Maria Demertzis, Marta Domínguez-Jímenez and Niclas Poitiers put on the detective cap and become Bruegel's own economic mythbusters. Disclaimer: this podcast was recorded on the 3rd of March 2020, before the COVID-19 lockdown was put in place in Europe and the US. Hence, some parts of it are no longer applicable. This podcast is a member of the Europod network.
From the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) to "coronabonds", the EU seems to be struggling to find an appropriate mechanism to tackle the economic crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic. What is really the best option? And how do we ensure that, once the pandemic is over, we return to sustainable debt levels and competitive economies? This week, Giuseppe Porcaro is joined by Lucrezia Reichlin, professor of Economics at the London Business School, Grégory Claeys and Guntram Wolff to discuss the macroeconomic policy response to the COVID-19 crisis. This podcast is a member of the EuroPod network. 
The current pandemic is shaking the financial system. How can banks react ? Is a consolidation of the financial system in Europe needed in order to respond to this crisis ? Will our economies suffer from this pandemic as much as they did in 2008 ? This week, Giuseppe Porcaro is joined live by Guntram Wolff and Nicolas Véron to discuss banks and loan losses in the pandemic turmoil. This podcast is a member of the EuroPod network. 
From flights cancelled and restaurants closed to companies either slowing or stopping their production, COVID-19 is shutting our economies down. How can the EU reboot them? What should be our fiscal and monetary response to the pandemic? Will our economic system ever be the same once everything is over? This week, Guntram Wolff is joined by Jean Pisani-Ferry and Maria Demertzis to discuss the EU's response to the coronavirus. This podcast is a member of the EuroPod network. Disclaimer: due to the current circumstances, this episode was recorded remotely. Therefore, the sound quality isn't the same as in our previous episodes.
The field of economics, like many others, seems to be biased towards men. How are women disadvantaged? Makfire Alija and Katja Knezevic join Nicholas Barrett and Niclas Poitiers to discuss the systematic hurdles. 
The coronavirus is going to hit the global economy hard, but how hard? What can policymakers plan for the months ahead? Nicholas Barrett asks Guntram Wolff and Maria Demertzis about economic symptoms and treatments 
When it comes to global carbon emission is a tax the best form of defence? To make the European Green Deal work, the EU is considering a levy on carbon-intensive goods manufactured beyond its borders. But will a carbon border tax spawn a massive bureaucracy and lead to accusations of protectionism? To find out, Nicholas Barrett talked to Georg Zachmann and Ben McWilliams from Bruegel and Gabriel Felbermayr, President of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy
As China and the US battle for global supremacy, the EU seems to remain in the shadows. But what if the EU had been shaping the world economy all along without anybody noticing? Could its soft power be strong enough to shape regulations all over the world? What impact does such influence have over its own economy? This week, Giuseppe Porcaro and Guntram Wolff are joined live by Ashoka Mody, Professor in International Economic Policy at the Princeton University, and Anu Bradford, author of the book "The Brussels Effect: How the European Union rules the world".
As the Coronavirus continues to spread, schools have closed, flights have been canceled and entire towns have been quarantined. Most of those who contract the virus will undoubtedly survive, but can the same be said for globalisation? Is it time for economists to question the virtue of international supply chains? Should policymakers in the west be thinking twice about our material dependency on Chinese manufacturing? And is an economic contagion as dangerous as its medical equivalent? To discuss this, Nicholas Barrett is joined by Nicolas Veron and Niclas Poitiers, and down the line from Spain, by Alicia Garcia Herrero.
Comments (1)

Ian Goldring

very interesting podcast episode, great guest, this was a good one

May 21st
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