H63 Debt; Debt Management
What happened in Cyprus? The economic consequences of the last communist government in Europe
- This paper reviews developments in the Cypriot economy following the introduction of the euro on 1 January 2008 and leading to the economic collapse of the island five years later. The main cause of the collapse is identified with the election of a communist government in February 2008, within two months of the introduction of the euro, and its subsequent choices for action and inaction on economic policy matters. The government allowed a rapid deterioration of public finances, and despite repeated warnings, damaged the country's creditworthiness and lost market access in May 2011. The destruction of the island's largest power station in July 2011 subsequently threw the economy into recession. Together with the intensification of the euro area crisis in the summer and fall of 2011, these events weakened the banking system which was vulnerable due to its exposure in Greece. Rather than deal with its fiscal crisis, the government secured a loan from the Russian government that allowed it to postpone action until after the February 2013 election. Rather than protect the banking system, losses were imposed on banks and a campaign against them was coordinated and used as a platform by the communist party for the February 2013 election. The strategy succeeded in delaying resolution of the crisis and avoiding short-term political cost for the communist party before the election, but also in precipitating a catastrophe right after the election.
Fiscal consolidation strategy
John F. Cogan
John B. Taylor
Maik H. Wolters
- In the aftermath of the global financial crisis and great recession, many countries face substantial deficits and growing debts. In the United States, federal government outlays as a ratio to GDP rose substantially from about 19.5 percent before the crisis to over 24 percent after the crisis. In this paper we consider a fiscal consolidation strategy that brings the budget to balance by gradually reducing this spending ratio over time to the level that prevailed prior to the crisis. A crucial issue is the impact of such a consolidation strategy on the economy. We use structural macroeconomic models to estimate this impact focussing primarily on a dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model with price and wage rigidities and adjustment costs. We separate out the impact of reductions in government purchases and transfers, and we allow for a reduction in both distortionary taxes and government debt relative to the baseline of no consolidation. According to the model simulations GDP rises in the short run upon announcement and implementation of this fiscal consolidation strategy and remains higher than the baseline in the long run. We explore the role of the mix of expenditure cuts and tax reductions as well as gradualism in achieving this policy outcome. Finally, we conduct sensitivity studies regarding the type of model used and its parameterization.
The relevance of primary dealers for public bond issues
- We analyze the role of different kinds of primary and secondary market interventions for the government's goal to maximize its revenues from public bond issuances. Some of these interventions can be thought of as characteristics of a "primary dealer system". After all, we see that a primary dealer system with a restricted number of participants may be useful in case of only restricted competition among sufficiently heterogeneous market makers. We further show that minimum secondary market turnover requirements for primary dealers with respect to bond sales seem to be in general more adequate than the definition of maximum bid-ask-spreads or minimum turnover requirements with respect to bond purchases. Moreover, official price management operations are not able to completely substitute for a system of primary dealers. Finally it should be noted that there is in general no reason for monetary compensations to primary dealers since they already possess some privileges with respect to public bond auction.