Posts byEd Westerhout

I am an economist specialised in the economics of ageing. I am affiliated with the University of Amsterdam, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis and Netspar. Further, I lecture a course on ageing and economics, I am author of 'Economen kunnen niet rekenen' and I write columns and blogs. For more info see http://edwesterhout.nl.

(Too) Expensive Prescription Drugs

As is well-known, longevity increases throughout the world. This is mainly due to the advance of medical technology, which also includes prescription drugs. Now, this is an interesting category from an economic point of view. Given that drugs can make the difference between alive or dead or, somewhat less extreme, a life without too much
CONTINUE READING

Viva El Niño!

Ethiopia, El Niño-influenced drought continues to affect millions of people, deepening food insecurity, malnutrition and water shortages in affected areas. [..] It is projected that in 2016, 2.2 million children under age 5 and pregnant/breastfeeding mothers will be moderately malnourished and 450,000 children will be severely malnourished (UN-OCHA, 13 April 2016). A major problem of
CONTINUE READING

Helicopter Money

The world is changing. After the financial crisis of 2007/2008, economic growth was supposed to recover, but it did not. Central banks all over the world cut interest rates sharply to just above zero percent. It did not help either. Then, quantitative easing was invented: if the standard recipe does not work, why not try
CONTINUE READING

Interest Rates Are Low, So Let Us Reduce Them!

Economic growth does not get into gear yet. Declining prices for oil and materials have hindered economic growth. Consequently, official forecasters have reduced their growth expectations for the current year. Parallel to this, inflationary expectations tilted downwards. Eurostat even reported a deflation of 0.2 percent in the month of February. Mario Draghi, the President of
CONTINUE READING

Secular Stagnation

We thought the crisis was fading out. We thought we had suppressed a financial crisis, a global economic crisis, a debt crisis and a Eurozone crisis. After all, economic growth rates were starting to increase, world trade starting to recover and unemployment rates starting to fall. But November 2013 Lawrence Summers made it very clear
CONTINUE READING

When Robots Meet Piketty

Why not think about robotics? The topic is hot (witness these five recent studies: ). It is also the time of the year to look ahead. And, probably the most compelling reason, the topic is fascinating, multifaceted and potentially revolutionary, not only by adding things that yet don’t exist, but also by changing various aspects
CONTINUE READING

A tax on economic growth

  446 million euro. That is what the Netherlands has to pay extra to the European Union because Dutch Gross Domestic Product (GDP) turned out to be higher than earlier estimated. This is the consequence of a clear and fair rule. Every EU country finances the EU budget with an amount that is proportional with
CONTINUE READING

Will early retirement revive?

Just when it seemed the debate on pensions would never end.. This summer, the secretary of state Klijnsma unfolded her plans regarding the future of the Dutch pension scheme to the Second . With a clear sketch of the adjustments to the current pension scheme and the contours of the new scheme. More transparency, more
CONTINUE READING

Five good reasons for a Grexit

What can one add to the Grexit discussion? Little to none, it seems, given the numerous and varying comments of experts and opinion leaders on the possible of Greece from the Eurozone. Well, there may be one thing. A Grexit will imply serious economic damage, to Greece and to other countries, but will also have
CONTINUE READING

I’ll take them all

The debate about Dutch pensions has taken a new route. A few years ago the debate centred around the question whether workers of retirees should pay for the shocks that are inherent to a funded system. Now the big question is how to introduce more freedom of choice without sacrificing solidarity. Freedom of choice is
CONTINUE READING

Freezing cold interest rates

Which temperature would characterise best current interest rates? Certainly not one that feels as comfortably warm. Current interest rates are so low that one would not expect people to put any money on their saving accounts. Probably, it is the low transaction costs due to the ICT revolution or something like that which explains why
CONTINUE READING

Useful illusions

money, debt and debt restructuring

The homo economicus cannot be cheated. The fictive person that economic science gave birth to is averse to illusions. Instead, for each decision to make the homo economicus weighs all alternative options and selects without exception that option that is considered the best. Which of course does not mean it is also the best choice
CONTINUE READING

Europe and the euro

There was a time that ‘Europe’ occupied a little spot in the middle of the newspapers. How this has changed in the last few decades! Now, ‘Europe’ is almost everywhere. Whether it is monetary policies, public debt policies or trade policies, Europe is involved. Even economic growth is nowadays considered to be a European rather
CONTINUE READING