Unless Europe takes action soon, its further economic and political decline is almost inevitable, economists Alberto Alesina and Francesco Giavazzi write in this provocative book. Without comprehensive reform, continental Western Europe's overprotected, overregulated economies will continue to slow—and its political influence will become negligible. This doesn't mean that Italy, Germany, France, and other now-prosperous countries will become poor; their standard of living will remain comfortable. But they will become largely irrelevant on the world scene. In The Future of Europe, Alesina and Giavazzi (themselves Europeans) outline the steps that Europe must take to prevent its economic and political eclipse.
"Few scholars are better qualified to analyze the economic condition of Europe than Alesina and Giavazzi. With admirable clarity, supporting each step of their argument with some striking empirical findings, they reveal the seriousness of the plight of the major continental European economies—and the urgency of the need for liberalizing reforms."
—Niall Ferguson, Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History, Harvard University, author of Empire and Colossus
"There is no shortage of scathing descriptions of what's going wrong in Europe, especially in its three largest countries (France, Germany, and Italy). But this book is different. Based on serious research undertaken by the authors over many years, its assessment is sure-footed, often unconventional, and always refreshing. It not only explains what's wrong but also offers practical solutions that leave no stone unturned. Very accessibly written, this provocative book deserves to be widely read, especially for the well-informed debates it will trigger."
—Charles Wyplosz, Professor of Economics, Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva
Alberto Francesco Alesina (1957) is an Italian political economist. He has published much-cited books and articles in major economics journals.
He obtained his undergraduate degree in economics from Bocconi University (DES) in 1981, then continued his studies at Harvard University, receiving an M.A. (1985) and a Ph.D. (1986). From 2003–2006, Alesina served as Chairman of the Department of Economics at Harvard. He is currently the Nathaniel Ropes Professor of Political Economy at Harvard. He has visited several institutions including Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Tel Aviv University, University of Stockholm, The World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In 2006, Alesina participated in the Stock Exchange of Visions project.
He has published five books and edited many more. His two most recent books are The Future of Europe: Reform or Decline (2006, MIT Press), and Fighting Poverty in the US and Europe: A World of Difference (2004, Oxford). He has been a co-editor of the Quaterly Journal of Economics for eight years and associate editor of many academic journals. He has published columns in many leading newspapers around the world. He is founding contributor of the online economic policy and research journal Voxeu.org and of Lavoce.info.
Francesco Giavazzi (1949) is Professor of Economics at Bocconi University in Milan and a regular Visiting Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is the president of IGIER, the Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Researc, a joint initiative of Bocconi University, CEPR and NBER.
Mr.Giavazzi holds a degree in Engineering from the Politecnico of Milan and a Ph.D in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is Research Fellow and Trustee of the Centre for Economic Policy Research as well as Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economics Research. During 2004, he was the Houblon-Norman Fellow at the Bank of England. In 2006, Mr.Giavazzi was appointed by the Swedish Parliament to oversee (joint with Rick Mishkin) an assessment of that country's central bank. He is a member of the Strategic Committee of the Agence France Trésor, of the "Bellagio Group" and of the Group of Economic Policy Advisers to the President of the European Commission. During 1999, he was a member of the External Evaluation Committee of the Research Activities of the International Monetary Fund. Between 1998 and 2000, Mr.Giavazzi was a member of the Council of Economic Advisers to the Prime Minister of Italy. From 1992 to 1994, Mr.Giavazzi served as Director General at the Italian Treasury. From 2001 to 2003 he was Vice-Rector of Bocconi University. From 1991 to 1999, he was Editor of the European Economic Review. Mr.Giavazzi has been a columnist of Corriere della Sera since 1995. His most recent book, La Crisi, with Alberto Alesina, was published by Il Saggiatore in 2008. In 2006 they had published with MIT press, The Future of Europe: Reform or Decline. In 1989, always with MIT Press, Professor Giavazzi had published, with Alberto Alesina, Limiting Exchange Rate Flexibility: the EMS.
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