Mr. Christian H Ebeke, Nemanja Jovanovic, Ms. Laura Valderrama, and Jing Zhou
The spread of COVID-19, containment measures, and general uncertainty led to a sharp reduction in activity in the first half of 2020. Europe was hit particularly hard—the economic contraction in 2020 is estimated to have been among the largest in the world—with potentially severe repercussions on its nonfinancial corporations. A wave of corporate bankruptcies would generate mass unemployment, and a loss of productive capacity and firm-specific human capital. With many SMEs in Europe relying primarily on the banking sector for external finance, stress in the corporate sector could easily translate into pressures in the banking system (Aiyar et al., forthcoming).
Mr. Romain A Duval, Davide Furceri, and João Tovar Jalles
We explore the impact of major labor and product market reforms on current account dynamics using a new “narrative” database of major changes in employment protection for regular workers and product market regulation for non-manufacturing industries covering 26 advanced economies over the past four decades. Our main finding is that product market deregulation is associated with a weakening of the current account, while labor market deregulation is associated with an improvement. These effects are transitory and driven by both saving and investment responses. Labor and product market reforms both have a more positive impact on the current account balance when implemented under weak macroeconomic conditions. Our results are broadly consistent with predictions from recent DSGE models with endogenous producer entry and labor market frictions.