Robert Kollmann's picture
Affiliation: 
Université Libre de Bruxelles
Credentials: 
Professor of Economics
Research Fellow, CEPR
PhD, University of Chicago

Voting history

The Eurozone COVID-19 Crisis: EU Policy Options

Question 1: What is the total size of funding that you would advocate at the EU level in support of its members to weather the COVID-19 crisis this year?

 

 

Answer:
5% of EZ GDP: No more than current commitments
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
The Covid-19 epidemic is a common shock. While death rates differ across countries, the predicted contraction in real GDP for 2020 is roughly in the same -7% to -9% range for all individual EU member countries, according to the latest IMF WEO (April 2020). The predicted contraction of German GDP (-7%) is only marginally smaller than that of Spain (-8%). (Relative to population size, the Covid mortality has so far been highest in Belgium, not in Italy or Spain!). In macro-economic terms, Covid-19 is a COMMON shock. A strong case for cross-country risk sharing via the EU institutions can be made when there are large asymmetric shock. But this logic does not apply to a common shock. The countries of the Southern periphery (including France) are now paying the price for their long-standing fiscal mismanagement.

Question 2: What is the best mechanism to pay for economic support provided by and to EU member states to combat the COVID-19 crisis?

Answer:
Member states themselves (no additional EU support)
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
See previous answer. Covid-19 is a common macroeconomic shock. Basically, countries and and should deal with the macroeconomic fallout of this shock, using their own fiscal resources. However, a very strong case can be made for much more aggressive EU-level support to research on Covid tests, the development of a virus, and the rapid expansion of production of medical equipment. This is an area where there are huge increasing returns and positive externalities! The EU Commission should launch a European 'Manhattan Project' to develop tests and vaccines against Covid and other future health threats, and to build a stronger, more self-sufficient European medical equipment/pharmaceutical industry.

Labour Markets and Monetary Policy

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Question 2: Do you agree that, in a period of great uncertainty and after a prolonged period of weak real wage growth, monetary policy makers can afford to wait for greater certainty about real wage developments and building inflationary pressure before raising interest rates?

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Answer:
Agree
Confidence level:
Confident

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Question 1: Do you agree that a strong labour market is a good indicator of building inflationary pressure?

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Answer:
Neither agree nor disagree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
It all depends on the underlying shocks. When aggregate demand shocks are driving the cycle, then strong labor markets indicate inflationary pressure. But not when aggregate supply shocks are dominant.

Bitcoin and the City

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Question 2: Do you agree that the regulatory oversight of cryptocurrencies needs to be increased?

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Answer:
Strongly agree
Confidence level:
Extremely confident
Comment:
Strict regulation and oversight are needed to combat the use of cryptocurrencies for money laundering, tax evasion and other criminal activities.

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