Unintended Consequences of ECB Policies
35 Pages Posted: 14 Jan 2017 Last revised: 7 Feb 2018
Date Written: July 12, 2017
We revisit the unintended consequences of the European Central Bank’s (ECB) low-interest rate policies with a focus on the periphery countries of the European Union (EU) since the 2000s from a modern Austrian perspective. We argue that convergence expectations and the ECB’s expansionary monetary policy were conducive to credit booms that turned bust in 2007/8. The subsequent European debt crisis revealed that the money-induced credit boom also incentivized governments to increase borrowing at relatively low rates. Second, we shed some light on adverse effects of the ECB crisis management thru an Austrian lens. We suggest that ECB policies were not successful in stimulating bank lending and investment. The main beneficiaries of holding rates at low levels are governments, who use the financial leeway to delay painful reforms. Consequently, ECB policy has (unintentionally) slowed down the recovery in the crisis economies and worsened Europe’s growth prospects since 2009.
Keywords: monetary policy, Europe, Austrian, crisis
JEL Classification: G01, B53, E58
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation