Notes et baromètres

Is “austerity” responsible for the crisis in Europe?

Economic Note

Most European economies have been in recession, or close to it, since the beginning of 2012. Unemployment rates are reaching record highs. Meanwhile, a debate has been raging about the deleterious effects of “austerity” measures. In recent weeks, various heads of government, finance ministers, and European Union officials have declared that austerity has gone too far and is preventing a recovery. Even the International Monetary Fund, in a reversal of its traditional position, is now asking countries to slow the pace of their austerity drives to keep a fragile recovery on track.

How should we view the situation in Europe? Is austerity responsible for the crisis, as Keynesians believe? Or is it part of a necessary cure, as Austrians think? As we shall see, these alternatives do not accurately capture what is happening in Europe because of the ambiguous meaning of the word “austerity.”

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Read the Polish translation of the Economic Note…

Published on Instytut Misesa on November 4, 2013

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Published on Finančný trh on July 15, 2013

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Published on Blog.Sina.com on July 11, 2013

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Published on Johnny Cloaca’s Freedonia on July 8, 2013

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Published on Mises Institut Deutschland on June 26, 2013

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Published on Centrul pentru Economie şi Libertate on June 24, 2013

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Published on Instituto Mises Hispano on June 12, 2013

Read “L’austérité est-elle responsable de la crise?”

Op-ed by Martin Masse, associate researcher at the IEM, published in La Tribune on May 21, 2013

Read “What austerity?”

Op-ed by Martin Masse, associate researcher at the IEM, published in the National Post (Canada) on May 17, 2013

Read the Media release…


It seems to be universally taken for granted in this debate that austerity measures adopted in Europe have meant drastic spending cuts, coupled with some tax increases, the net effect being a downsizing of government. But is this really the case?

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Martin Masse

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