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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter September 20, 2018

Solidarity and Responsibility in the Euro Area: Foes or Friends?

Andrea Fracasso ORCID logo
From the journal The Economists’ Voice


The recent debate on the reform of the economic governance in the euro area has been marred by a stark disagreement on the correct sequence between risk-reduction (responsibility) and risk-sharing (solidarity). In fact, the dichotomy between risk-reduction and risk-sharing may be fallacious as they reinforce each other, particularly in a monetary union with no lender of last resort for the public sector and no common macroeconomic stabilization mechanisms. The lack of risk-sharing mechanisms is per se a major source of redenomination and default risks and thus it makes the euro area prone to financial market segmentation along national borders and ultimately weaker. At the same time, greater structural convergence has to be achieved through structural reforms and fiscal prudence in order to reduce the likelihood of future negative idiosyncratic shocks in currently vulnerable countries. Notwithstanding some progress towards a politically viable solution encompassing both responsibility and solidarity, a number of important issues remain controversial. This short article summarizes the debate and introduces some of these controversial issues, ranging from the correct role of market discipline when markets are prone to self-fulfilling prophecies and multiple equilibria, to the (dis)advantages of sovereign debt restructuring mechanisms based on rules rather than discretion, from the pros and cons of new safe assets in the euro area to the primacy of coping with debt legacy problems, and the like.


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Published Online: 2018-09-20

©2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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