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An ocean apart: Comparing transatlantic responses to the financial crisis

Has the EU-US relationship become a sideshow or is it still central to the global economy? Conflicting signals have been sent out since the outbreak of the global crisis. The creation of the G20 and its designation as ‘the premier forum for international cooperation’ suggest that attention and priorities have moved away from the traditional […]

By: , and Date: March 12, 2011 Topic: Banking and capital markets

Has the EU-US relationship become a sideshow or is it still central to the global economy? Conflicting signals have been sent out since the outbreak of the global crisis. The creation of the G20 and its designation as ‘the premier forum for international cooperation’ suggest that attention and priorities have moved away from the traditional G7 focus on the transatlantic economy. But most of the key policy debates of the last two years have retained a characteristically transatlantic flavour. This applies to the controversy about the pace of consolidation which resulted in an open US-German rift at the Toronto summit in June 2010; to the discussion on the new bank capital ratios which again was essentially a euro- American affair; and to the broader conversation on the priorities of financial regulatory reform, for which the big action agendas have been the US Dodd-Frank Act and the European endorsement of a blueprint for coordinated supervision and a single European macroprudential body.

True, other issues – the global rebalancing, or the creation of global financial safety nets – have had a distinctive G20 scope. But at least a fair share of the international debate has been transatlantic.

There are reasons for this state of affairs. To start with, what is known as the global crisis has been first and foremost a transatlantic crisis. As discussed in several contributions in this volume, the wake of the crisis financial integration through portfolio diversification essentially remained an EU-US phenomenon.

Accordingly the subsequent financial turmoil primarily affected the European and American financial systems, and other economies indirectly only, through trade or capital outflows. It is therefore natural to see the same two regions take the lead in setting the agenda for financial reform. Second, the problems they are facing in the aftermath of the shock – the travails of deleveraging, unemployment, the need for unconventional policy responses, the lowering of the growth potential, the rise of public debt, political pressures for protection – are largely common. Third, while they are not the main contributors to world growth, the EU and the US still constitute the bulk of the global economy, and what happens to them matters considerably for all.

The US and the EU however are not responding to the same shock in the same way and this is what makes the comparison interesting. It is telling that the sovereign debt crises developed in Europe in the first half of 2010 and triggered a move towards consolidation while the US fiscal situation is by most standards worse than the aggregate European situation. It is telling also that the priorities of financial reform have not been the same. Clearly neither the policy space nor the policy traditions are identical and this portends significant divergence across the Atlantic. How far this divergence will go and whether policymakers on the two continents will disagree or agree to disagree is one of the key questions for the future of the global economy in the years to come.

All this justifies a revival of the transatlantic economic conversation. The joint Banca d’Italia-Bruegel-Peterson Institute conference, held in Rome on 10-11 September 2009 with the support of the European Commission, aimed to contribute to the conversation through research and policy discussions. We hope that the papers collected in this volume will help foster a fact-based, analytically sound discussion.

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Opinion

COP26: why carbon pricing is crucial to China’s climate change pledges

China’s emissions trading scheme is a welcome but to reach its full potential, it needs to cover more of China’s emissions, go beyond the electricity sector and let prices reflect the true cost of carbon.

By: Alicia García-Herrero and Junyu Tan Topic: Global economy and trade, Green economy Date: October 22, 2021
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External Publication

European Parliament

Don't let up - The EU needs to maintain high standards for its banking sector as the European economy emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic

In-depth analysis prepared for the European Parliament's Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON).

By: Rebecca Christie and Monika Grzegorczyk Topic: Banking and capital markets, European Parliament Date: October 21, 2021
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Blog Post

Better sustainability data is still needed to accelerate the low-carbon transition in capital markets

Investors need more trustworthy sustainability data. Regulators should leave space for better products to emerge, while remaining alert to well-known patterns of misconduct in capital markets.

By: Alexander Lehmann Topic: Banking and capital markets Date: October 18, 2021
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External Publication

European Parliament

Tailoring prudential policy to bank size: the application of proportionality in the US and euro area

In-depth analysis prepared for the European Parliament's Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON).

By: Alexander Lehmann and Nicolas Véron Topic: Banking and capital markets, European Parliament, Macroeconomic policy Date: October 14, 2021
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External Publication

Global Economic Resilience: Building Forward Better

A roadmap for systemic economic reform calling for step-change in global economic governance to increase resilience and build forward better from economic shocks, prepared for the G7 Advisory Panel on Economic Resilience.

By: Thomas Wieser Topic: Global economy and trade, Macroeconomic policy Date: October 14, 2021
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Podcast

Podcast

Will ‘common prosperity’ address China’s inequality?

Why is China reviving this old mantra?

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: Global economy and trade Date: October 13, 2021
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Opinion

European governance

The inconsistency in global strategic relations

All of this talk on strategic retrenchment and autonomy is the language of escalation, not of appeasement and collaboration.

By: Maria Demertzis Topic: European governance, Global economy and trade Date: October 13, 2021
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Opinion

Xi’s pledge on financing coal plants overseas misses point

China’s domestic installation of coal-fired power plants continues at great pace.

By: Alicia García-Herrero and Simone Tagliapietra Topic: Global economy and trade, Green economy Date: October 7, 2021
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Blog Post

European governance

Pandemic prevention: avoiding another cycle of ‘panic and neglect’

Agreement is needed at international level on mechanisms to ensure better preparedness for the next pandemic.

By: Anne Bucher Topic: European governance, Global economy and trade Date: October 7, 2021
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Opinion

Will China use climate change as a bargaining chip?

Beijing shows signs of changing tactics ahead of the COP26 conference.

By: Alicia García-Herrero and Simone Tagliapietra Topic: Global economy and trade, Green economy Date: October 6, 2021
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External Publication

A world recovery fund to overcome developing countries’ post-covid debt woes?

Proposal to set up a World Recovery Fund (WRF), aimed at addressing some of the key problems with the design of the DSSI and more generally the existing international financial architecture for dealing with debt problems in the developing world.

By: Alicia García-Herrero Topic: Global economy and trade Date: October 6, 2021
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Past Event

Past Event

What is the link between biodiversity loss and financial instability?

Biodiversity loss impacts financial stability. How big is the risk of biodiversity loss for financial institutions?

Speakers: Sylvie Goulard, Romain Svartzman, Guntram B. Wolff and Michael Wilkins Topic: Banking and capital markets Date: October 5, 2021
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