27 Jul 2012

Adjusting to a credit cycle bust: The role of fiscal policy

Daniel Gros

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In response to the often-heard accusation that “austerity is killing growth in Europe”, Daniel Gros asks in this new Commentary: “What austerity?” Looking at the entire budget cycle, he finds that the picture of austerity killing growth simply does not hold up. Since the bursting of the bubble in 2007, Gros reports that the economic performance of the US has been very similar to that of the euro area: GDP per capita is today about 2% below the 2007 level on both sides of the Atlantic; and the unemployment rate has increased by about the same amount as well: it increased by 3% both in the US and the euro area. Thus, he concludes that over a five-year period, the US has not done any better than the euro area although it has used a much larger dose of fiscal expansion.

Daniel Gros is Director of CEPS.