Most G7 countries are facing political and economic uncertainties, and long-standing structural problems.The short-term outlook is reasonably positive, but longer term prospects are more challenging. These challenges have underlying economic causes stretching back many years, fostered by low productivity growth, stagnating real incomes and living standards, rising inequality and technological change. G7 countries should address short-term weaknesses, reduce political and policy uncertainties, and tackle these longer-term problems as well. Acting together to address these challenges will be more effective: (1) short-term and medium-term measures to boost growth should focus on fiscal actions (including infrastructure spending), normalizing monetary policy, completing financial regulatory reforms, and structural policies; (2) tackling policy uncertainties requires international consensus on consistent policies, starting with greater certainty over the direction of trade policy and over the Brexit negotiations. Sending positive signals on trade cooperation will be difficult, but the G7 could make progress on some specific issues such as a code of practice against competitive exchange rate devaluations; (3) an agenda to emphasize fairness could include: fair trading arrangements, implications of financial regulation for fairness and agreement on international corporate taxation to ensure companies pay their fair share of taxes.
Paper presented at the international conference on “Major Challenges for Global Macroeconomic Stability. The Role of the G7”, organized in Rome on 27-28 March 2017 by the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) with the support of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the Bank of Italy.
1. Current challenges
2. The outlook
3. Underlying causes: inequality, polarization, and nativism
4. The responses
4.1 Short-term actions
4.2 Reducing policy uncertainty
4.3 Addressing underlying issues of fairness
4.4 Why the G7?