Skip navigation

CESifo Book Series

Each book in the CESifo Book Series aims to cover a topical policy issue in economics. The monographs reflect the research agenda of the Ifo Institute for Economic Research and they are typically “tandem projects” where internationally renowned economists from the CESifo network cooperate with Ifo researchers. The monographs have been anonymously refereed and revised after being presented and discussed at several workshops hosted by the Ifo Institute.

Education and the Economics of Growth

In this book Eric Hanushek and Ludger Woessmann make a simple, central claim, developed with rigorous theoretical and empirical support: knowledge is the key to a country’s development. Of course, every country acknowledges the importance of developing human capital, but Hanushek and Woessmann argue that message has become distorted, with politicians and researchers concentrating not on valued skills but on proxies for them. The common focus is on school attainment, although time in school provides a very misleading picture of how skills enter into development.

Multinational Company Finance and Taxation

The recent increase in cross-border flows of foreign direct investment has sharpened the research focus on multinational taxation. In this book, taxation experts Jack Mintz and Alfons Weichenrieder examine how multinational corporations use indirect financing structures--organizing themselves into groups with several tiers of ownership--to reduce worldwide taxes. They spell out in detail how different tax policies affect corporations’ choice of financing structures, discussing the issues in both theoretical and empirical terms.

The Finnish Path from Crisis to Rapid Growth

Many countries have experienced major economic changes since the mid-1980s as a result of the deregulation and liberalization of national financial systems—two key aspects of globalization—with some experiencing boom and bust in rapid succession. The small Northern European country of Finland has been hailed as a success story for achieving renewed economic growth and prosperity after a financial crisis and deep depression in the early 1990s.

Currency boards, more so than other exchange rate regimes, have come in and out of fashion. Defined by a fixed exchange rate with full convertibility, central bank liabilities backed with foreign exchange reserves, and a high cost of exiting the regime, currency boards were common in colonial times--until most were cast off as countries gained independence after World War II.

The rapidly aging populations of many developed countries--most notably Japan and member countries of the European Union--present obvious problems for the public pension plans of these countries. Not only will there be disproportionately fewer workers making pension contributions than there are retirees drawing pension benefits, but the youth-to-age imbalance would significantly affect the total contributive capacity of future generations and hence their total income growth.

The contrasting trends toward earlier retirement and greater longevity have resulted in steadily increasing retirement costs over the last forty years. One important factor influencing early retirement decisions is the expansion of retirement benefits; but studies predict that most countries, particularly those with early retirement incentives, will be unable to meet future pension and social security obligations.

The volatility that has hit many middle-income countries (MICs) after liberalizing their financial markets has prompted critics to call for new policies to stabilize these boom-bust cycles. But, as Aaron Tornell and Frank Westermann point out in this book, over the last two decades most of the developing countries that have experienced lending booms and busts have also exhibited the fastest growth among MICs. Countries with more stable credit growth, by contrast, have exhibited, on average, lower growth rates.

In 2000, the average driver in US metropolitan areas endured 27 hours of traffic delays, a rise from 7 hours in 1980. In many other countries, traffic delays are considerably worse than in the United States, and in developing countries urban traffic congestion is increasing with alarming rapidity. For fifty years, economists have been advocating congestion pricing as the way to deal with urban traffic congestion; but today, even after some successes, congestion pricing is encountering considerable political resistance.

Credibility, Transparency, and Centralization

The adoption of the euro in 1999 by 11 member states of the European Union created a single currency area second in economic size only to the United States. The euro zone's monetary policy is now set by the European Central Bank (ECB) and its Governing Council rather than by individual national central banks. This CESifo volume examines issues that have arisen in the first years of ECB monetary policy and analyzes the effect that current ECB policy strategy and structures may have in the future.

Demography and Globalization

In The Decline of the Welfare State, Assaf Razin and Efraim Sadka use a political economy framework to analyze the effects of aging populations, migration, and globalization on the deteriorating system of financing welfare state benefits as we know them. Their timely analysis, supported by a unified theoretical framework and empirical findings, demonstrates how the combined forces of demographic change and globalization will make it impossible for the welfare state to maintain itself on its present scale.

Implications for Growth and Inequality

The dominant role played by the state in the financing, regulation, and provision of primary and secondary education reflects the widely-held belief that education is necessary for personal and societal well-being. The economic organization of education depends on political as well as market mechanisms to resolve issues that arise because of contrasting views on such matters as income inequality, social mobility, and diversity.