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Forum

Universal Basic Income: The Promise vs the Practicalities

The idea of a universal basic income (UBI) has gained momentum in recent years. Proponents assert that a UBI will dramatically simplify and improve upon the current welfare state model. While the idea of a UBI is intriguing, real-world implementation is anything but basic. No serious answers have been found to the question of how to finance such a system, and economists are also concerned about the negative effects of a UBI on a person's willingness to work.

Conference Announcement

Fiscal Stabilisation Function for the Eurozone

Intereconomics Conference 2017

Brussels · 20 April 2017 · 9:00 - 17:00 · Centre for European Policy Studies

The 7th annual Intereconomics conference will explore the benefits that could be gained by granting the eurozone a fiscal stabilisation function, for example through a European unemployment benefits scheme. Top economists such as Clemens Fuest, Iain Begg, Paul De Grauwe and Frank Vandenbroucke will be joined by representatives of the ECB, European Parliament and US Labor Department to debate the implications of such a move.

Further details and registration information can be found here.

Figure of the Month

Impact of Policy Measures on Output

This figure from "The Power of Two: Inclusive Growth and the IMF” by Prakash Loungani shows how wage moderation, QE and structural reforms impact economic output.

Universal Basic Income

The Basics of Basic Income

John Kay describes how any attempt to turn basic income into a feasible proposal necessarily involves the reintroduction of elements of the benefit system which are dependent on multiple contingencies and also on income and wealth. The outcome is a welfare system which resembles those that already exist. Thus, basic income is merely a distraction from sensible and necessary welfare reforms.

Editorial

Greece: Searching for Light at the End of the Tunnel

The last thing both Greece and the EU want is another round of brinkmanship and another replay of the Greek drama. George Pagoulatos writes that the country desperately needs a sense of stability and a year of recovery to be able to see some light at the end of the tunnel. Thus, it is essential that the country's European creditors complete their review of the third bailout programme in a timely manner.

Quote of the Month

Greece

“Given time and stability, the most extreme case of adjustment inside an imperfect currency union could eventually become a case study for the positive transformative power of an ever deepening European economic and monetary union.”

from George Pagoulatos's Editorial "Greece: Searching for Light at the End of the Tunnel"

International Monetary Fund

Inclusive Growth and the IMF

Mainstream economics has long focused on increasing economic growth while ignoring distributional concerns. However, the consensus has begun to shift, and recent IMF research has paid increased attention to inclusive growth and the detrimental macroeconomic effects of inequality. The IMF also recognises the threat posed by climate change and has begun to dedicate research to exploring ways to decouple carbon emissions from economic growth.

From the Archives

A Second Look at the Maastricht Treaty

In honour of the 25th anniversary of the Maastricht Treaty, we present Klaus Reeh's 1993 article, in which the author assesses the Treaty's chances of success. He warns that the costs of introducing a single currency may "arise as political costs through an erosion of the commitment to the single market and the whole European project".