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Mr. Pierre Cahuc, Stéphane Carcillo, Berengere Patault, and Flavien Moreau
Does labor court uncertainty and judge subjectivity influence firms’ performance? We study the economic consequences of judge decisions by collecting information on more than 145,000 Appeal court rulings, combined with administrative firm-level records covering the whole universe of French firms. The quasi-random assignment of judges to cases reveals that judge bias has statistically significant effects on the survival, employment, and sales of small low-performing firms. However, we find that the uncertainty associated with the actual dispersion of judge bias is small and has a non-significant impact on their average outcomes.
Sophia Chen and Do Lee
We provide broad-based evidence of a firm size premium of total factor productivity (TFP) growth in Europe after the Global Financial Crisis. The TFP growth of smaller firms was more adversely affected and diverged from their larger counterparts after the crisis. The impact was progressively larger for medium, small, and micro firms relative to large firms. It was also disproportionally larger for firms with limited credit market access. Moreover, smaller firms were less likely to have access to safer banks: those that were better capitalized banks and with a presence in the credit default swap market. Horseraces suggest that firm size may be a more important and robust vulnerability indicator than balance sheet characteristics. Our results imply that the tightening of credit market conditions during the crisis, coupled with limited credit market access especially among micro, small, and medium firms, may have contributed to the large and persistent drop in aggregate TFP.
Jean-Marc Fournier and Philipp Lieberknecht
This paper presents a model-based fiscal Taylor rule and a toolkit to assess the fiscal stance, defined as the change in the structural primary balance. This is built on the normative buffer-stock model of the government (Fournier, 2019) which includes key channels like hysteresis, cycle-dependent multipliers and a risk premium. A simple fiscal Taylor rule prescribes the fiscal stance as a function of past government debt, past output gap and the past structural primary balance. Applications suggest several advanced economies could have better managed their fiscal stance over the last 20 years. Simulations provide fiscal stance recommendations over the medium-term.
Mr. John C Bluedorn, Mr. Shekhar Aiyar, Mr. Romain A Duval, Davide Furceri, Mr. Daniel Garcia-Macia, Yi Ji, Davide Malacrino, Mr. Haonan Qu, Jesse Siminitz, and Ms. Aleksandra Zdzienicka
Cross-country differences in economic resilience—in an economy’s ability to withstand and adjust to shocks—remain significant in the euro area. In part, the differences reflect the lack of a national nominal exchange rate as a mechanism to adjust to shocks. The IMF staff has argued that union-wide architectural changes such as the banking union, the capital markets union, and a central fiscal capacity can help foster greater international risk sharing. Yet even these changes cannot insure against all shocks. National policies thus have a vital role to play. This IMF staff discussion note analyzes how national structural policies can help euro area countries better deal with economic shocks. Using a mix of empirical and modeling approaches, the note finds that growth-enhancing reforms to labor and product market regulations, tailored to country-specific circumstances, would help individual euro area economies weather adverse shocks. Higher-quality insolvency regimes are associated with more efficient factor reallocation following a shock. The note also finds that structural and cyclical policies interact. Greater rigidities make economies more fragile, putting a higher burden on fiscal policy. This is especially true for members of a monetary union. Countries should build fiscal space in good times and tackle rigidities, reducing their need for countercyclical policies in bad times while making countercyclical policies more effective when deployed.
Juan Angel Garcia and Sebastian Werner
Do euro area inflation expectations remain well-anchored? This paper finds that the protracted period of low (and below-target) inflation in the euro area since 2013 has weakened their anchoring. Testing their sensitivity to inflation and macroeconomic news, this paper expands existing results in two key dimensions. First, by analyzing all available (advanced) inflation releases. Second, the reactions of expectations are investigated at daily, time-varying and intraday frequency regressions to add robustness to our conclusions. Results point to a significant impact of inflation news over recent years that had not been observed before in the euro area.