Estonia’s Astonishing Development

by Andreas Hoffmann Intellectual Takeout's Luis Pablo has published a nice piece on Estonia's astonishing development. You can find it here. He attributes this development to Estonia's "market-oriented reforms" during the 1990s. Importantly, Estonia has sticked with the "market-oriented" approach. I suggest that this persistence might help explain why the country has fared better than … Continue reading Estonia’s Astonishing Development

Glasner on Merkel’s Legacy

by Andreas Hoffmann I enjoy reading David Glasner's commentaries. But his latest post, "What Hath Merkel Wrought?", is absolutely misleading (with regard to Merkel and German elections). I will not hide that I disagree with David Glasner concerning the best policies for a prosperous EMU. But that's not the point here. In the last four … Continue reading Glasner on Merkel’s Legacy

Two Cheers for Placebo-Regulation

by Andreas Hoffmann and Sebastian Müller The financial crisis of 2007 eroded the public confidence in financial markets. Many people have come to believe that only the government can guarantee the stability of financial markets. Responding to increased public demand, politicians from across the political spectrum support additional "macroprudential regulation". However, little is known about … Continue reading Two Cheers for Placebo-Regulation

Most Popular Posts of 2017

ThinkMarkets got a facelift in 2017 and there were lots of new posts. Some posts have received more attention than others. Below you find the most popular new posts of 2017: Richard Thaler's Nobel Prize David Rockefeller as an Economist 200 Years of the Theory of Comparative Advantage A Crisis in Economics? An Axiomatic Case … Continue reading Most Popular Posts of 2017

A Critical Appraisal of Network Unbundling

High-speed broadband networks are key to the growth of digital markets as well as most modern forms of communication, and have been subject to far-reaching regulation in many countries. In this piece, we’ll review the rationale behind a cornerstone of the prevailing regulatory paradigm: forced access to incumbent operators’ network infrastructure by alternative operators on … Continue reading A Critical Appraisal of Network Unbundling

Why Europeans Lost Trust in the ECB

by David Herok and Andreas Hoffmann* Since the financial crisis, trust in the European Central Bank (ECB) has declined substantially among Europeans. We argue that the decline in trust is worrisome and can be both a cause and a consequence of the ECB’s policy failure. All modern monetary systems are based on trust. Since central … Continue reading Why Europeans Lost Trust in the ECB

Unintended Monetary Policy Effects – Tale II: ECB Crisis Policies

by Andreas Hoffmann and Nicolás Cachanosky The Federal Reserve’s (Fed) and European Central Bank’s (ECB) policy responses to the recent financial disasters offer two tales of unintended consequences. Our previous post outlined undesired effects of the Fed’s policies. In this post, we suggest that the ECB’s stabilization policy did not only fail to achieve its … Continue reading Unintended Monetary Policy Effects – Tale II: ECB Crisis Policies

Should Central Banks Lean Against the Wind?

by Andreas Hoffmann The pre-crisis Jackson Hole Consensus view on how to take asset market developments into account in monetary policy can be summarized as follows: Because it is hard to spot bubbles in asset markets with certainty ex-ante, central bankers should not lean against the wind when there seems to be a boom in … Continue reading Should Central Banks Lean Against the Wind?

Two Tales of Unintended Consequences of Monetary Policy – Tale 1

by Nicolás Cachanosky and Andreas Hoffmann Even when a policy is successful in achieving its desired ends, we have to consider its unintended and unforeseen consequences, resulting from cumulative market adjustments to policy changes that make it hard to judge the overall outcome of a policy in our complex economy. The Federal Reserve and European … Continue reading Two Tales of Unintended Consequences of Monetary Policy – Tale 1

O’Driscoll: Allan Meltzer Remembered

Allan Meltzer has died at age 89. The number of articles on Meltzer these days indicate the significance of his contributions. Carnegie Mellon University and Bloomberg published good summary articles on Meltzer's outstanding academic career, ideas and influence in policy. Jerry O'Driscoll's personal note on Alt-M emphasizes that Meltzer was also a great manager and … Continue reading O’Driscoll: Allan Meltzer Remembered

An Axiomatic Case for the Flat Tax

by André Casajus[*] and Andreas Hoffmann Estonia was the first European country to introduce a flat tax on income in 1994. Many others followed. For example, Hungary successfully introduced a flat tax in 2012. In the U.S., some of the States (e.g. Pennsylvania) have introduced a flat tax on income. As in Germany, however, the … Continue reading An Axiomatic Case for the Flat Tax

Are we all Debt Liquidationists now? … No!

by Andreas Hoffmann A growing number of economists suggest that governments in highly indebted countries should consider liquidating debt via financial repression. In other words, they want governments to intervene in financial markets and push government borrowing costs below the rate of inflation to erode the real value of debt. In a previous post, I … Continue reading Are we all Debt Liquidationists now? … No!

Call for Papers: 2017 SDAE Meetings (Deadline: April 1, 2017)

The annual meeting of the Society for the Development of Austrian Economics will be held during the Southern Economics Association meetings in Tampa, FL at the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel and Marina, November 17-19, 2017 (Friday to Sunday; more information can be found here: https://www.southerneconomic.org/conference/). Members interested in presenting papers, serving as chairs/discussants, or proposing … Continue reading Call for Papers: 2017 SDAE Meetings (Deadline: April 1, 2017)

Call for Papers: Austrian Monetary Economics Conference

I would like to bring the following to your attention: – Call for Papers – Monetary Policy in the 21st Century: The Renaissance of Austrian Monetary Economics Madrid, November 2nd and 3rd, 2017 Submission deadline: June 30th, 2017 The Faculty of Political Economy in co-operation with the Master Programme in Economics of the Austrian School … Continue reading Call for Papers: Austrian Monetary Economics Conference

Beware of Financial Repression

by Andreas Hoffmann Government debt levels in many advanced economies, especially in Southern Europe, in the US and in Japan, have reached peacetime records. People are worried and rightly so: C. Reinhart and K. Rogoff have provided evidence that elevated debt-to-GDP ratios may contribute to stagnation or even debt crises. As austerity policies are unpopular … Continue reading Beware of Financial Repression

The Revival of State Banking in Europe

by Alexander Fink[1] and Andreas Hoffmann Since 2009, the role of government in banking has increased substantially in Europe. This is, first, a consequence of capital injections or bailouts of private banks (for instance Dexia in Belgium, Royal Bank of Scotland in the UK, Hypo Real Estate and Commerzbank in Germany, Fortis in the Benelux, … Continue reading The Revival of State Banking in Europe

The Germans Have Learned Nothing

by Andreas Hoffmann Ever since the beginning of the EMU crisis, politicians, journalists and economists have blamed Germany’s "fiscal austerity" for the prolonged troubles in Europe’s periphery. If only the Germans spent more on goods and services, so the idea, the people in the periphery countries of Europe could sell more stuff. Exports would help … Continue reading The Germans Have Learned Nothing

The Euro: a Step Toward the Gold Standard?

by Andreas Hoffmann (University of Leipzig) In a recent piece Jesus Huerta de Soto (2012) argues that the euro is a proxy for the gold standard. He draws several analogies between the euro and the classical gold standard (1880-1912). Like when "going on gold" European governments gave up monetary sovereignty by introducing the euro. Like … Continue reading The Euro: a Step Toward the Gold Standard?

Government Revenues from Low-Interest Rate Policies

by Andreas Hoffmann and Holger Zemanek* Over the last two years Carmen Reinhart and Belen Sbrancia have published a series of papers on financial repression and its historical role in financing government debt. They show that throughout the Bretton Woods period governments in many advanced economies repressed financial markets to liquidate the high levels of debt that … Continue reading Government Revenues from Low-Interest Rate Policies

Thomas Mayer: “I am an Austrian in Economics”

by Andreas Hoffmann In today's publication Thomas Mayer writes that he is "an Austrian in economics." Mayer is the chief economist of Deutsche Bank Group and head of Deutsche Bank Research. Mayer argues that Austrian theory fits recent events well.  He suggests that "Failure of the liquidationists to overcome the Great Depression of the early … Continue reading Thomas Mayer: “I am an Austrian in Economics”

No Way to Escape for the Swiss National Bank

by Andreas Hoffmann and Gunther Schnabl It came as a surprise to many: the Swiss National Bank announced an exchange rate target. Accordingly, the Swiss franc will be held above the level of 1.20 francs per euro. Switzerland gives up a part of its sovereignty, when the ECB makes bad press in buying trash-rated euro … Continue reading No Way to Escape for the Swiss National Bank