This paper argues that the large differences among EU countries in post-crisis employment performance are to a large extent driven by the need to adjust corporate balance sheets, which had greatly deteriorated during the boom years in some countries but not in others. To close the large gaps between saving and investment, firms reduced investment and cut costs to boost profits. With much of the cost adjustment falling on firms’ wage bills, employment losses were largest in countries under the most intense pressures to improve corporate profitability and with limited wage flexibility due to labor market duality.
In this paper we contribute to the empirical literature on growth in the MENA region by attempting to quantify the impact of the various constraints faced by local businesses highlighted by the World Bank’s Business Enterprise surveys. To the best of our knowledge this dataset has not been used in any empirical analysis looking at the main constraints on growth in the MENA region. Our empirical results suggest that the key direct constraints to growth in the MENA region are difficulties in access to finance, labor skill mismatches and shortages, and electricity constraints.
This Selected Issues paper for Italy presents updated estimates of potential growth for Italy, using new techniques that draw on co-movements of output, employment, and inflation over the business cycle to distinguish trends from cycles. The paper provides an assessment of an area—corporate governance—that has important implications not only for trend growth but also for macrofinancial developments. The paper reviews developments in fiscal federalism in Italy and draws on cross-country experience to offer suggestions on how the decentralization process now under way can be most effectively managed.