Institute for Research in Economic and Fiscal issues

IREF Europe - Institute for Research in Economic and Fiscal issues

Fiscal competition
and economic freedom


The European Stability Mechanism is Critical to the Future Functioning of the Euro

The European Stability Mechanism is Critical to the Future Functioning of the Euro

The unintended consequences of coronavirus

The unintended consequences of coronavirus


Limits to profit as limits to freedom: law and public policy considerations

Limits to profit as limits to freedom: law and public policy considerations

Nationalist and cosmopolitan positions about immigration

Nationalist and cosmopolitan positions about immigration


Immigration, tolerance and identity

Immigration, tolerance and identity

Who is the ultimate boss of legislators: Voters, special interest groups or parties?

Who is the ultimate boss of legislators: Voters, special interest groups or parties?

By David Stadelmann and Gustavo Torrens


Latest publications

The Brydon Report on Audit. Will Banks’ Financial Statements Become More Reliable?

The Brydon Report on Audit. Will Banks' Financial Statements Become More Reliable?Sir Donald Brydon, former Chairman of the London Stock Exchange, published just before Christmas his wide-ranging review of the UK audit industry. This is likely to have significant ramifications for bank financial reporting throughout Europe because (with only a few national opt outs) (...)

MiFID II: Too much consumer protection?

MiFID II: Too much consumer protection?The recently updated European Markets in Financial Instruments Directive, commonly abbreviated as MiFID II, is supposed to enhance consumers’ protection. Adjustments of regulatory background questions aside, the EU aims to improve “protection of investors by prohibiting the acceptance of (...)

Cost-benefit analysis is less than satisfactory. Yet, the alternatives are probably worse

Cost-benefit analysis is less than satisfactory. Yet, the alternatives are probably worseCost-benefit analysis is far from being a perfect tool. In particular, the subjective nature of costs and benefits makes all calculations arbitrary. Thus, it may happen that policymakers take bad decisions even when applying the best methodology. Yet, the world of politics requires that (...)

Germany Remains Firmly Opposed to Banking Union

Germany Remains Firmly Opposed to Banking UnionIn November, Germany’s Finance Minister Olaf Scholz wrote an article in the Financial Times claiming that he had devised a common European Deposit Insurance Scheme (EDIS) [1] that could be acceptable to both sides of the hitherto gridlocked debate. Mr Scholz also circulated a document which he (...)

It’s the ideology, stupid! Journalists, citizens, and the declining trust in the news

It's the ideology, stupid! Journalists, citizens, and the declining trust in the newsOver the years, we have witnessed a general decline in the level of trust in the news as recorded by the general public. For example, according to the latest Reuters Institute Digital News Report, the average level of trust in the news is down 2 percentage points to 42%, with peaks such as -11 (...)

Free-market excuses for not so free-market-oriented central bankers

Free-market excuses for not so free-market-oriented central bankersIn a recent speech, the Vice Chair for Supervision at the Federal Reserve R.K. Quarles extensively cited F.A. von Hayek. Quarles highlighted Hayek’s argument on freely determined prices as crucial to convey knowledge across operators and enhance a functional economic order. By contrast, he (...)

Are half of all jobs bullshit? Bullshit!

Are half of all jobs bullshit? Bullshit! In the 2000s, a short book by philosopher Harry Frankfurt made the term ‘bullshit’ socially acceptable. In 2018, anthropologist David Graeber published his bestseller, in which he argued that roughly half of the employment relations in the Western economies are ‘bullshit jobs’: they provide no (...)

“Mini Schengen” – Western Balkans’ Embrace of the Market

“Mini Schengen” – Western Balkans' Embrace of the Market French President Emmanuel Macron’s spearheaded opposition to block European Union accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia during the European Council’s recent meeting in October. By doing so, he is not only dangerously and severely undermining the credibility of the EU accession process. (...)

Central Banks’ Varied Approaches to the Financial Risks of Climate Change

Central Banks' Varied Approaches to the Financial Risks of Climate ChangeAs the momentum has built behind calls for policy responses towards climate change, the ECB and the Bank of England have not been the quickest central banks to act. Back in 2011, the Banco do Brasil announced that banks must incorporate ‘Environmental and Social Risk’ in their reporting and risk (...)

Mafia and the market

Mafia and the marketMany people share the opinion that Mafia is a typical Italian phenomenon, something about which only Italians should worry. This opinion is wrong. Data recently released by Europol show that thousands of criminal organizations active in Europe can be labelled as of mafia-type, with about 70% of (...)

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