Articles By: Edward Hugh

Edward is a macro economist based in Barcelona, who specializes in growth and productivity theory, demographic processes and their impact on macro performance, and the underlying dynamics of migration flows. He is currently working on a book "Population, The Ultimate Non-renewable Resource?" Edward’s analysis can be found on his “Don’t Shoot the Messenger” blog on www.economonitor.com. He is also a regular contributor to a number of economics weblogs, including India Economy Blog, A Fistful of Euros, Global Economy Matters and Demography Matters. He was, in fact, a founding member of all these weblogs.

Here are my most recent posts

The growing mess which will be left behind by the Abenomics experiment

The growing mess which will be left behind by the Abenomics experiment

Japan’s deflation problem is overdetermined – there are multiple causes at work, any one of which could account for the observed phenomenon. Those who have been following the debate can simply choose their favourite – balance sheet recession, liquidity trap, fertility trap – each one, taken alone, could be sufficient as a cause. But I would here like to use the term “overdetermination” in another, less technical, sense, since it seems to me Japan’s problem set is overdetermined in that we always seem to be facing at least one more problem than we have remedies at hand.

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Could Mario Draghi’s implementing QE help Matteo Renzi raise the Italian deficit?

Could Mario Draghi’s implementing QE help Matteo Renzi raise the Italian deficit?

The aim of the above header is to link two names in people’s minds, both of them Italian: Mario Draghi and Matteo Renzi. Naturally the idea is not original, the FT’s Peter Spiegel recently published an entire blog post (Does Renzi owe his job to Draghi?) trying to establish some sort of connection between the arrival in office of Italy’s Matteo Renzi and the recent German Constitutional Court ruling. But this post is not about rumour, it is about coincidences.

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Spain: Some thoughts on Catalonia and secession

Spain: Some thoughts on Catalonia and secession

Against a backdrop which offers an eerie parallel with events which took place somewhat to the North more than 30 years ago, Catalonia is now threatening to separate from Spain. In so doing the region seems to be putting at risk both the future of the host country and beyond that the outlook for the Euro currency and the process of European unification.

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In Spain, simply doing nothing is not an option!

In Spain, simply doing nothing is not an option!

The recent IMF proposals to help stimulate growth and job creation in Spain at least deserve serious consideration. What the IMF are saying is that if you leave the situation as it is then growth will not be sufficient to make any significant change in the unemployment rate. Thus they estimate that on the basis of present policies the rate will still be 25% in 2018.

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Spain: The recession may be ending but the crisis continues

Spain: The recession may be ending but the crisis continues

What follows is an interview I did over the summer with the Madrid based publication The Local.

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The Czech Economy That Didn’t Bounce?

The Czech Economy That Didn’t Bounce?

Czech voters are deeply dissatisfied and in a highly skeptical mood, since following seven quarters without growth the country’s economy is evidently stuck in the doldrums. The worst part is things look highly unlikely to improve anytime soon.

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Portugal’s Japanese Problem

Portugal’s Japanese Problem

In a number of posts recently I have highlighted the impact of declining workforces on economic growth and the way the policies pursued to address the Euro debt crisis are having the impact of accelerating the movement of young people away from the periphery and towards the core thus accelerating the decline in their working populations and exacerbating their growth problem.

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The real experiment that is being carried out in Japan

The real experiment that is being carried out in Japan

There is an experiment being conducted in Japan, but the experiment isn’t Abenomics (which I suspect won’t work, and could end very badly). No, the experiment is about learning to grow old with dignity, not as individuals, but as societies.

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The A-b-e of economics and Japan’s shrinking population trap

The A-b-e of economics and Japan’s shrinking population trap

Japan is stuck in a shrinking population trap, and neither monetary nor fiscal policy will adequately solve the problem. Continuing to run fiscal deficits in a deflationary environment will only means that government debt is pushed onward and upwards leading to a variety of possible scenarios as to what the end game will finally be. Reining in the deficit, by raising consumption tax, for example, will probably only make deflation worse with a one year time lag, as happened in 1997, and will almost certainly force the economy into more economic shrinkage which in any event makes the debt issue worse.

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Beyond their ken: The Spanish contraction machine is well-oiled

Beyond their ken: The Spanish contraction machine is well-oiled

The current crisis – which is arguably no longer a crisis but rather a way of life – has all now gotten so complex that the issues involved are almost certainly, and in principle, “beyond their ken.” Spain’s economy will continue to march boldly forward towards what now seems almost guaranteed to be long term decline, while from within the captain’s tower, far from an acceptance that what is happening really is happening, we will continue to hear yet one more crazy and implausible story after another telling us “if only this”, or “if only that” even as representatives of the Plataforma de afectados por las hipotecas (or equivalents) start to assemble outside the local version of the winter palace looking for their hides.

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Does emigration put Spain’s health and pension system at risk?

Does emigration put Spain’s health and pension system at risk?

By Edward Hugh According to the Economist’s Buttonwood, “desperate times require desperate measures”. I am sure this is right, times in Spain are certainly getting desperate and many of the measures being implemented in Brussels, far from representing radical and innovative solutions look much more like continually closing the barn door after the horse has bolted. The issue Buttonwood draws […]

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Bulgaria: De-population on a massive scale

Bulgaria: De-population on a massive scale

According to Angela Merkel, speaking in the German city of Mainz in mid February, European countries struggling with the fallout of the euro-area debt crisis have much to learn from East Germany’s experience with economic overhaul following the fall of the Berlin Wall. In the main she was speaking about the need for reform, something on which we can all agree. “At the beginning of the 21st century”, she said, “Germany was the sick man of Europe and that we are where we are today also has to do with reforms we carried out in the past. That’s why we can say in Europe that change can lead to good.”

But there was one tiny little detail she forgot to mention. During the post unification period East Germany’s population went into melt-down mode.

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