One of the most discussed ideas in contemporary policy making is Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein’s proposal to influence people’s choices without coercing them by improving the “architecture” of their choices. Many governments have implemented behaviourally informed policies, focusing on “nudges” – interventions that preserve freedom of choice, but that also steer people in certain directions. This Forum addresses both the opportunities and challenges presented by the application of behavioural insights to policy making. What do citizens actually think about behaviourally informed policies? Is this method of influencing choices ethically acceptable? Should the findings of behavioural economics be alarming to normative economists, in that they threaten the grounds upon which economists evaluate alternatives?
Intereconomics is looking to hire a new editor as a maternity leave replacement! Apply at http://www.zbw.eu/en/about-us/careers/job-offers/.
A year ago, Europe seemed to be under siege by populist forces. The worst of those fears proved unfounded. However, while Europe’s far-right surge has stalled, the populist threat has certainly not gone away. Furthermore, despite the encouraging economic developments, there are persistent divergences between euro area economies. European Commissioner Pierre Moscovici details how Europe should face these challenges in 2018.
In this issue's Letter from America, Barry Eichengreen throws some cold water on talk of renewed EU optimism. The European economy may continue to grow, but if something does interrupt that growth, the EU will discover that it still lacks the institutional tools to resolve major problems. This year might well be another one of much talk but little actual progress on institutional reform.
Even though economists keep on emphasising the benefits of international trade, protectionism is on the rise in many industrialised countries. Wolfgang Lechthaler and Mariya Mileva argue that a potential explanation for this phenomenon can be found in the short-run distributional effects of import tariffs: while protectionism hurts the economy from an aggregate perspective (i.e. GDP goes down), unskilled workers in import-competing sectors benefit in the short run and do not lose in the long run. They might therefore lend political support to protectionism.
Forum: Solving the Productivity Paradox
with articles by Bart van Ark, Cecilia Jona-Lasinio and more
by Adriana Neligan
by Ludger Schuknecht
from Monique Goyens's Forum article Using Behavioural Economics For Rather than Against Consumers – A Practitioner’s Perspective
About Intereconomics – Review of European Economic Policy
Intereconomics is jointly produced by ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics and the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS). The journal appears bimonthly and features papers by economists that deal with economic and social policy issues and trends in Europe or affecting Europe. To submit a paper for publication, please visit the Submissions section of our website for relevant information.
Intereconomics is published by Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.
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