Since the eruption of the sovereign debt crisis in the Eurozone, substantial efforts have been made to create a new form of governance for the Eurozone that will make the monetary union more robust in absorbing future economic and financial shocks. Much of the drive to adapt the governance of the Eurozone has been influenced by the traditional theory of optimal currency areas (OCA), which stresses the need for flexibility in product and labour markets. As a result, the Eurozone countries have been pushed towards structural reforms that aim to reduce the structural rigidities in product and labour markets. In this paper we ask whether this movement towards structural reform as part of the push for new governance is really going in the right direction. We will argue that this is not the case. The main reason is that the nature of the shocks that have hit the Eurozone does not correspond to the pattern of asymmetric shocks that has been identified by the OCA theory to require more flexibility. We will argue that what is needed in the Eurozone is not more structural reforms but a better mechanism capable of dealing with the classical boom and bust dynamics that are inherent to capitalism.
Evaluations of programmes and interventions financed through the European Social Fund (ESF) have proven challenging and have in many cases not allowed policy-makers to draw evidence-based conclusions regarding their effectiveness and efficiency. In order to strengthen future evaluations, the European Commission is encouraging Member States to increase efforts to develop credible evidence of ESF effects beyond what would have been achieved in the absence of ESF support. Such evidence requires counterfactual impact evaluations (CIEs) – i.e. comparison of results to estimates of what would have occurred otherwise. This guidance provides practical advice on some of the key questions that need to be considered when designing, commissioning and conducting CIEs. It is intended for ESF Managing Authorities (MA) and other bodies responsible for the implementation of ESF-funded programmes and interventions. The focus is on practicalities, though through necessity some technical issues are discussed. This publication is available in electronic format in English. French and German versions will be available in October 2013.