Managing the Euro Area Debt Crisis

Peterson Institute for International Economics
Free sample

First came the financial and debt crisis in Greece, then government financing difficulties and rescue programs in Ireland in 2010 and Portugal in 2011. Before long, Italy and Spain were engulfed by financial contagion as well. Finally in 2012, the European Central Bank pledged to do "whatever it takes" to preserve the euro area with purchases of government bonds, a step that achieved impressive results, according to William R. Cline in this important new book.

One of the world's leading experts on fiscal and debt issues, Cline mobilizes meticulously researched and forceful arguments to trace the history of the euro area debt crisis and makes projections of future debt sustainability. He argues that euro area leaders made the right decision to keep the euro from breaking apart but warns against complacency about the future. Cline contends that troubled European economies should continue their fiscal consolidation but that further debt restructurings for most countries are not called for. Greece is a special case and may need some further debt relief contingent on continued progress on fiscal and structural reform, however. In this landmark study, Cline offers a detailed analysis of the mistakes, successes, and options for Europe as it struggles to overcome its worst economic disaster since World War II.

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About the author

William R. Cline has been a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics since 1981. During 1996-2001 while on leave from the Institute, Dr. Cline was deputy managing director and chief economist of the Institute of International Finance (IIF) in Washington, DC. From 2002 through 2011 he held a joint appointment with the Peterson Institute and the Center for Global Development, where he is currently senior fellow emeritus. Before joining the Peterson Institute, he was senior fellow, the Brookings Institution (1973-81); deputy director of development and trade research, office of the assistant secretary for international affairs, US Treasury Department (1971-73); Ford Foundation visiting professor in Brazil (1970-71); and lecturer and assistant professor of economics at Princeton University (1967-70).
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Additional Information

Publisher
Peterson Institute for International Economics
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Published on
Jun 9, 2014
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Pages
218
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ISBN
9780881326871
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / International / Economics
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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What began as a relatively localized crisis in Greece in early 2010 soon escalated to envelop Ireland and Portugal. By the second half of 2011, the contagion had spread to the far larger economies of Italy and Spain. In mid-September the Peterson Institute and Bruegel hosted a conference designed to contribute to the formulation of policies that could help resolve the euro area debt crisis. This volume presents the conference papers; several are updated through end-2011.

European experts examine the political context in Greece (Loukas Tsoukalis), Ireland (Alan Ahearne), Portugal (Pedro Lourtie), Spain (Guillermo de la Dehesa), Italy (Riccardo Perissich), Germany (Daniela Schwarzer), and France (Zaki Laidi). Lessons from past debt restructurings are then examined by Jeromin Zettelmeyer (economic) and Lee Buchheit (legal). The two editors separately consider the main current policy issues: debt sustainability by country, private sector involvement and contagion, alternative restructuring approaches, how to assemble a large emergency financing capacity, whether the European Central Bank (ECB) should be a lender of last resort, whether joint-liability "eurobonds" would be feasible and desirable, and the implications of a possible break-up of the euro area. The luncheon address by George Soros and a description (by Steven R. Weisman with Silvia B. Merler) of the policy simulation game played on the second day of the conference complete the volume. Involving market participants and experts representing the roles of euro area governments, the ECB, IMF, G-7, and credit rating agencies, the game led to a proposal for leveraging the capacity of the European Financial Stability Facility through arrangements with the ECB.

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