Occasional Papers

The Occasional Papers series seeks to disseminate the work carried out by the Banco de España within its sphere of competence that is considered to be of general interest for knowledge of the functioning of the Spanish economy and of its international environment.

The opinions and analyses published in the Occasional Papers are the responsibility of the authors and are not necessarily shared by the Banco de España or the Eurosystem.

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  • 21/05/2014
    1304. Some thoughts on the Spanish economy after five years of crisis (534 KB) Eloísa Ortega and Juan Peñalosa

    This paper briefly describes some features of the situation of the Spanish economy after five years of crisis, a task which is easier now that this period can be analysed from a certain perspective. The crisis prompted a substantial readjustment of the main Spanish macroeconomic aggregates, affecting the level and composition of GDP, employment and the balance sheet position of the institutional sectors. During this period some of the imbalances that built up during the upturn have been corrected and several key variables are currently at around the average European levels. All told, the legacy of the crisis, in terms of the magnitude of unemployment and of the still high levels of indebtedness, makes for a complex outlook and suggests that the recovery will be gradual and not free of uncertainty. This uncertainty mainly affects the functioning of the economy’s adjustment mechanisms, particularly those working through the channels of competitiveness and of private sector balance sheets. Despite the depth of the crisis in Spain, the progress made in the reforms on various fronts is, on balance, significant. From the perspective provided by the analysis of the crisis in this paper, supply-side policies will have to play a major role in the current phase of the cycle to enable the recovery to proceed firmly.

  • 05/11/2013
    1303. Fiscal policy and external imbalances in a debt crisis: the Spanish case (458 KB) Pablo Hernández de Cos and Juan F. Jimeno

    In this paper we reflect on the role that fiscal policy could play in the resolution of the crisis in Eurozone countries crippled by both public and private debt, and beset by growth and competitiveness problems. As an illustration, we revisit the Spanish case, a paradigmatic example of the economic difficulties created by high debt and internal and external imbalances. After describing the build-up of fiscal and macroeconomic imbalances in Spain during the period 1995-2007, we first discuss how the correction of macroeconomic imbalances conditions progress on the fiscal consolidation front and, secondly, how fiscal consolidation affects the correction of imbalances. We conclude that the role that national fiscal policies can play in these countries to expand demand and reduce the costs of solving external and internal imbalances seems limited. Also, overall, the best contribution that fiscal policy can achieve under these constraints is through a better targeting of government expenditures and tax reforms, aimed at introducing permanent measures to stabilise debt ratios. These could then be combined with productivity-enhancing structural reforms and with improvements in product market regulation to increase competition, so that the short-term costs of the internal devaluation required are reduced.

  • 14/08/2013
    1302. Los canales del desapalancamiento del sector privado: una comparación internacional (603 KB) Daniel Garrote, Jimena Llopis and Javier Vallés

    Following the increase in private-sector indebtedness before the 2008 Great Recession, balance sheet adjustment by the most indebted agents will be a necessary condition for achieving balanced growth. This paper analyses the deleveraging of the non-financial private sector in four countries that experienced a housing boom —US, UK, Ireland and Spain— and how it is affecting their pace of recovery. The results indicate that in 2008-2012 there are differences in these countries not only in the intensity of debt reduction but also in the distribution between agents and productive sectors, and in the form deleveraging is taking. Arguably, too, differences in observed patterns of adjustment are related to distinct economic policies and international environments. In the United States the drivers reducing debt are the improvement in activity and household debt restructuring and defaults; in the United Kingdom inflation has dominated, eroding the value of debt; and in Ireland and Spain the reduction in net financing flows is proving more important. Deleveraging processes will foreseeably continue in the future, as debt ratios are still relatively high. These processes are usually gradual in nature, so they will continue affecting consumption and investment growth over the coming years.

  • 26/04/2013
    1301. China’s economic growth and rebalancing (1 MB) Ettore Dorrucci, Gabor Pula and Daniel Santabárbara

    In this paper we provide an overview of the growth model in China and its prospects, taking a medium-run to long-run perspective. Our main conclusions are as follows. First, the still prevailing producer-biased model of managed capitalism in China tends to engender, as an inherent byproduct, serious imbalances which cannot be unwound without a fundamental overhaul of the model itself. Second, given the lack of a critical mass of economic reforms thus far, imbalances may (re-)escalate once global and domestic economic conditions normalise. Third, the fundamental factors underpinning growth in China are likely to remain supportive, at least over the medium run. Although this could help mitigate the economic costs of imbalances for some time to come, it could also reduce the incentives for policymakers to enact much needed reforms. Fourth, delayed policy action and the persistence of the model of growth cum imbalances would increase the risk of China getting caught in the middle-income trap in the long run. Greater political will to redirect China’s growth model towards a more sustainable path is therefore needed.

    Published in: ECB Occasional Paper N142

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