Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Changed Germany as German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Speak on April 15, 2010 at Stanford University

See
News Analysis - Germany's E.U. Policy Shift Reflects Generational Change - NYTimes.com
and
Stanford University News

No Free Lunch for Greece: Germany and France in a Struggle over the Greek Debt Crisis

French and German Ties Fray Over Greek Crisis - NYTimes.com
by Steven Erlanger, April 12, 2010, who writes inter alia:
"France and Germany traditionally have been the “motor” of the European Union, but relations between the two countries are badly strained over the Greek debt crisis, which is just the latest example of a new German willingness to resist the demands of Europe and assert its self-interest under Chancellor Angela Merkel....

Germany has insisted that any aid to Greece come as a last resort, and in the loan package arranged on Sunday it insisted that Greece pay a significant penalty in interest rates. This was well within Mrs. Merkel’s guidelines and does not represent a subsidy to Greece, said Thomas Klau of the European Council on Foreign Relations."

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Paul Krugman at the New York Times writes about European Leisure

Paul Krugman at the New York Times writes about European Leisure. The fact is that average "vacation time" in Europe is much longer than in the United States, also in terms of paid vacations, and it does not seem to negatively impact productivity. In fact, the increased leisure time helps to develop leisure-related products and service industries, raising general quality standards in recreation and accomodations that are probably unique to Europe.

Krugman refers to the Harvard Institute of Economic Research Discussion Paper No. 2068 on Work and Leisure in the U.S. and Europe: Why so Different?* by Alberto F. Alesina, Edward L. Glaeser and Bruce Sacerdote which writes in its Abstract:
"Americans average 25.1 working hours per person in working age per week, but the Germans average 18.6 hours. The average American works 46.2 weeks per year, while the French average 40 weeks per year. Why do western Europeans work so much less than Americans? Recent work argues that these differences result from higher European tax rates, but the vast empirical labor supply literature suggests that tax rates can explain only a small amount of the differences in hours between the U.S. and Europe. Another popular view is that these differences are explained by long-standing European "culture", but Europeans worked more than Americans as late as the 1960s. In this paper, we argue that European labor market regulations, advocated by unions in declining European industries who argued "work less, work all" explain the bulk of the difference between the U.S. and Europe. These policies do not seem to have increased employment, but they may have had a more society-wide influence on leisure patterns because of a social multiplier where the returns to leisure increase as more people are taking longer vacations.
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*Alesina, Alberto F., Glaeser, Edward L. and Sacerdote, Bruce, Work and Leisure in the U.S. and Europe: Why so Different? (April 2005). Harvard Institute of Economic Research Discussion Paper No. 2068. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=706982 or doi:10.2139/ssrn.706982

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