Cost/benefit analysis of complying with the ECB’s wishes

Tom McDonnell27/06/2011

Tom McDonnell: Namawinelake has put up part of the transcript from Minister Noonan's interview yesterday on 'The Week' programme. Evidently the ECB doesn't threaten sovereign countries. Except when it does.

On the ECB stonewalling of burning bondholders Namawinelake makes the following reasonable statement:
"The point of this is we have serious economic considerations on the bonds but we also have serious considerations on what the cuts and austerity will do to our society. And it is logical, is it not, that there is some tipping point in the cost/benefit analysis of complying with the ECB’s wishes that we say “that’s not worth it”. If bondholders cost us €1tn then the decision might be black and white. If the cost was €1m, it would also be black-and-white at the other end. I tend to think that the costs are too much and when we consider the sort of society we’ll have with the cuts and taxes, the larger class sizes, the lower healthy life expectancy, the fear and fact of crime.

So let’s have the debate, acknowledge the ECB funding of our banks (which is not costing the ECB a penny though there is risk), consider the savings, consider Plan B and its costs and benefits, set out the likely cuts and taxes and then decide for better or worse to accept this or not.."

Over at Economic Incentives
Seamus Coffey takes a look at default options and concludes:
"it does not seem that default could generate the required savings to make it a viable policy option.."

These are debates whose time has come. Of course events may overtake everything. Reuters (citing Markit) reported on friday that five-year credit default swaps on Greek government debt rose 138bp to 2025bp, implying a more than 80% default probability.

Posted in: Banking and financeEconomicsEconomicsBanking and financeEurope

Tagged with: defaultbondholdersburden-sharingECBGreece

Dr Tom McDonnell

McDonnell, Tom

Tom McDonnell is senior economist at the NERI and is responsible for among other things, NERI's analysis of the Republic of Ireland economy including risks, trends and forecasts. He specialises in economic growth theory, the economics of innovation, the Irish and European economies, and fiscal policy. He previously worked as an economist at TASC and before that was a lecturer in economics at NUI Galway and at DCU. He has also taught at Maynooth University.

Tom obtained his PhD in economics from NUI Galway.


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