DIW Berlin: Low interest rate environment amplifies negative effects of austerity policy

Conclusion: Ease austerity measures, boost investment

Now the issue arises as to which measures should be taken in the future to reduce sovereign debt as a means of enlarging governments’ financial room for maneuver and increasing economic growth. Since it does not look like the ECB will raise the prime rate in the near future despite the growing momentum in the euro area’s economic development, the only remaining option is to adjust the consolidation targets. To avoid the enormously contractive and counteractive effects of stringent austerity measures, we recommend making them less restrictive, while at the same time dismantling the tax system’s superfluous bureaucracy and other elements that hamper growth. Debt relief as a means of enlarging governments’ financial room for maneuver should be considered in a tangible manner. And investment that favors long-term potential growth should be systematically supported. This balanced policy mix contains powerful measures with medium-term effects instead of short-term ones. In an environment of low interest rates, debt deleveraging in the private sector, and loss of trust in the financial markets, it seems apt to avoid the high costs of restrictive austerity programs.

via DIW Berlin: Low interest rate environment amplifies negative effects of austerity policy

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