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

Stark quits ECB

by Andreas Hoffmann This is good news for inflationists. I am shocked that Jürgen Stark quit his job at the European Central Bank. Usually it is a good thing when central bankers quit their job - or at least it does not make a difference. But Jürgen Stark is known as an inflation hawk. Jürgen Stark - … Continue reading Stark quits ECB

The Role of the Perverse Elasticity of Credit Money

by Andreas Hoffmann I want to bring a recent comment by Sornette and von der Backe to the attention of the reader (in Nature 471, p. 166, May 2011). Sornette and von der Backe remind us to pay more attention to disequilibria caused by the fractional reserve banking system to explain the emergence of crises. … Continue reading The Role of the Perverse Elasticity of Credit Money

Are market rates below the natural rate again?

by Andreas Hoffmann and Mario Rizzo We know from Wicksell’s (1898) Interest and Prices, there is something important about the interest rate that balances saving and investment in an economy over time. This equilibrium interest rate is called the “natural rate of interest”. When market interest rates are below the natural rate, an unsustainable credit … Continue reading Are market rates below the natural rate again?

Does one size fit all?

by Andreas Hoffmann In a recent article in the WSJ, David Wessel sees a “fundamental problem” in the euro zone's one-size-fits-all policy. We know from Mundell (1961) that a one-size-fits-all monetary policy cannot guarantee low inflation and unemployment in all members of a heterogeneous currency area, given e.g. labor markets are not fully flexible as … Continue reading Does one size fit all?

Easy Money, Emerging Market Miracles and the Revival of Industrial Policies

by Andreas Hoffmann and Gunther Schnabl While most advanced economies continue to suffer from high unemployment and record debt levels, monetary expansions in the advanced economies feed a tsunami of carry trades, hiking asset and raw material prices and accelerating growth rates in emerging markets from Brazil over the Middle East to China. While capital … Continue reading Easy Money, Emerging Market Miracles and the Revival of Industrial Policies

Trouble ahead? Easy money vs. Turkey 1:0

by Andreas Hoffmann While the US, Japan and Europe slashed interest rates to unprecedented low levels, growth remains sluggish. Dealing with debt problems and supporting the recovery, the ECB provided money to quasi-finance the euro area problem children. Similarly the Federal Reserve is trying to jump start the economy and has been flooding markets with … Continue reading Trouble ahead? Easy money vs. Turkey 1:0

Hayekian Credit Booms

by Andreas Hoffmann Currently there is an interesting discussion in the blogosphere on how it is possible that in Hayek’s Prices and Production framework consumption and investment can increase at the same time. In my opinion they cannot, or only very slightly, but this is not a problem! Because, 1) the explanation is not one of the … Continue reading Hayekian Credit Booms

Reform the Monetary System?

by Andreas Hoffmann* Most economists agree that the latest crisis was caused by risk-taking incentives (competition for profits, wrong ratings, false policies, moral hazard) along with financial innovations that allowed banks to lend excessively. While monetary policy prevented, for better or worse, a collapse of the financial system, an increasing number of economists also agree … Continue reading Reform the Monetary System?