Policy Briefs


IN MAY 2015, the European Central Bank published a working paper by U. Bindseil, C. Domnick, and J. Zeuner titled "Critique of accommodating central bank policies and the 'expropriation of the saver'. A review". At first glance, this looks like any other commonplace literature review. However, the first line of the Abstract reads:

"In parts of the German media, with the support of a number of German economists, the ECB’s low nominal interest rate policy is criticised as unnecessary, ineffective and as expropriating the German saver. This paper provides a review of the relevant arguments"

So this is more than literature review. It is an uncommon argument in defence of the ECB’s monetary policy against attacks from the media, and by extension the public opinion, of a particular country (italics highlight what is uncommon in the ECB’s communication style). After one year of quantitative easing (QE) and the enhancement decided in the meeting of the ECB Board on March 9, German hostility towards the Frankfurt Tower has grown stronger than ever. The "expropriation of the saver" is first in the line of fire, as evident in the cover of Handelsblatt on March 13, where President Draghi lights a big cigar with a 100 euro bill representing the savings of Germans.

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