Working Paper No. 379 | May 2003

Is Europe Doomed to Stagnation?

An Analysis of the Current Crisis and Recommendations for Reforming Macroeconomic Policymaking in Euroland

This paper challenges the view that external shocks caused Euroland's 2001 slowdown and subsequent stagnation. Instead, the design of Euroland's macro policymaking arrangements is found lacking in looking after sufficient domestic demand growth. In the event the ECB has failed on its stabilization role--a rather vital role given that fiscal policy is severely constrained by the Stability and Growth Pact. As a result, Europe is in a precarious situation of stagnation today, and under the current regime there is even a risk of self-reinforcing destabilization. Hence, reforming the regime is urgent. A nominal GDP target to be pursued by fiscal and monetary policies in cooperation would provide Europe with the growth anchor that is currently missing.

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