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Ms. Yuanyan S Zhang
Wage rises have remained stubbornly low in advanced Europe in recent years, but, at the same time, newer EU members are experiencing rapid wage acceleration. This paper investigates the drivers of this wage divergence. Econometric analysis using error correction models suggests that wage growth responds more quickly to changes in unemployment in the newer EU members than in advanced Europe, where wages are more closely related to inflation and inflation expectations in the short run, implying greater inertia in nominal wage rises in advanced Europe. In the years after the global crisis, this inertia contributed to the build up of a real wage overhang relative to sharply slowing labor productivity, which subsequently dragged on nominal wage rises even as unemployment began to decline. Spillovers of subdued wage growth between euro area countries also weighed on wage rises in advanced Europe.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.

Abstract

Europe continues to enjoy a strong growth spurt. Growth has firmed up in many European economies and the forecast is for more of the same. Real GDP increased by 2.8 percent in 2017, up from 1.8 percent in 2016. The expansion is largely driven by domestic demand, with investment increasingly contributing. Credit growth has finally picked up, which is helping Europe’s banks to rebuild profitability. While leading indicators have recently begun to ease, they remain at high levels. Accordingly, the forecast is for growth to stay strong, reaching 2.6 percent in 2018 and 2.2 percent in 2019. Amid the good times, however, fiscal adjustment and structural reforms efforts are flagging.

Mr. Gee Hee Hong, Zsoka Koczan, Weicheng Lian, and Mr. Malhar S Nabar
Nominal wage growth in most advanced economies remains markedly lower than it was before the Great Recession of 2008–09. This paper finds that the bulk of the wage slowdown is accounted for by labor market slack, inflation expectations, and trend productivity growth. In particular, there appears to be greater slack than meets the eye. Involuntary part-time employment appears to have weakened wage growth even in economies where headline unemployment rates are now at, or below, their averages in the years leading up to the recession.
Tingyun Chen, Mr. Jean-Jacques Hallaert, Mr. Alexander Pitt, Mr. Haonan Qu, Mr. Maximilien Queyranne, Ms. Alaina P Rhee, Ms. Anna Shabunina, Mr. Jerome Vandenbussche, and Irene Yackovlev
This SDN studies the evolution of inequality across age groups leading up to and since the global financial crisis, as well as implications for fiscal and labor policies. Europe’s population is aging, child and youth poverty are rising, and income support systems are often better equipped to address old-age poverty than the challenges faced by poor children and/or unemployed youth today.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This paper mainly examines fiscal decentralization, credit-loss recovery, and unemployment in Croatia. The degree of expenditure and revenue decentralization in Croatia appears limited relative to its peers. At about 16 percent of general government spending, subnational government spending in Croatia is modest compared to other southeastern European countries and to the EU-28 average, and particularly low compared to the most decentralized countries in the EU. Croatia’s recovery since late 2014 has been moderate. Croatia’s recession lasted six years and was thus the longest among the new EU member states. Croatia’s structural and cyclical unemployment rates are very high, at about 11.5 percent and 5 percent respectively in 2015.
Ms. Elva Bova, João Tovar Jalles, and Ms. Christina Kolerus
This paper explores conditions and policies that could affect the matching between labor demand and supply. We identify shifts in the Beveridge curves for 12 OECD countries between 2000Q1 and 2013Q4 using three complementary methodologies and analyze the short-run determinants of these shifts by means of limited-dependent variable models. We find that labor force growth as well as employment protection legislation reduce the likelihood of an outward shift in the Beveridge curve,. Our findings also show that the matching process is more difficult the higher the share of employees with intermediate levels of education in the labor force and when long-term unemployment is more pronounced. Policies which could facilitate labor market matching include active labor market policies, such as incentives for start-up and job sharing programs. Passive labor market policies, such as unemployment benefits, as well as labor taxation render matching signficantly more difficult.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This 2015 Article IV Consultation highlights that Slovakia remains among Europe’s stronger economies, with growth continuing to pick up in 2015, driven by strong domestic demand. A push to spend expiring European Union funds has underpinned rising investment while job creation and real wage growth have supported private consumption. Unemployment has fallen significantly since 2013, but is still about 11 percent overall, and is much higher for the long-term unemployed, youth, and women. The outlook is favorable with growth of 3–3.5 percent expected through the medium-term, reflecting sustained domestic demand as well as further contributions from the important export sector as substantial additional foreign auto sector investment is planned.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
After slowing in 2013, the Slovak economy is gathering momentum as the euro area and domestic demand recover, the latter complementing the strong export sector that has made Slovakia one of Europe’s more dynamic economies. Reducing still very high unemployment remains a key challenge, as does sustaining fiscal adjustment. Manageable public and private debt as well as a sound banking system limit vulnerabilities, but Slovakia’s fortunes remain closely tied to external developments, especially in the euro area, and there are risks from regional tensions since Russia provides much of Slovakia’s energy and is a reasonably important export market, including for Slovakia’s trading partners.
Iuliia Brushko and Ms. Yuko Hashimoto
This paper examines the international portfolio flows of European Union. Our analysis includes three dimensions: (1) the level of countries portfolio investment concentration (those who invest evenly among counterparties versus those who invest more heavily in some counterparties); (2) the share of total portfolio investment assets invested at the destination; and (3) pre- and during the crisis periods. We find that portfolio investment positions respond differently to macroeconomic variables depending on the level of investment concentration and the share of invested assets. In particular, variables of health of the financial system become important determinants for portfolio investment during the crisis.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This 2013 Article IV Consultation highlights that following a sharp downturn in 2009 in the context of the global economic and financial crisis, Slovakia emerged as one of the fastest-growing economies in the European Union, supported in particular by substantial foreign investment in the auto sector and subsequent exports. Growth slowed to 2 percent in 2012 as the impact of exceptionally large investments in 2011 faded. Inflation fell to 1.6 percent in June 2013, and record trade and current account surpluses were recorded in 2012. For 2013, the growth forecast is 0.6 percent, reflecting especially the weakening external environment.