Macroeconomic policy cooperation and the G20

Adam Triggs

Has the G20 achieved its goals in macroeconomic cooperation since 2008? The paper organises the G20’s efforts under five themes: macroeconomic stimulus, fiscal consolidation, monetary policy, the global financial safety net and global imbalances. The G20 was initially successful in each of these areas, but this success was short‐lived. While the G20 met its goals on macroeconomic stimulus, it has been less successful in reducing deficits and debt. While it was successful in increasing its resources, the global financial safety net remains too small, too fragmented and institutional reform is incomplete. While the G20 succeeded in moving to more market‐determined exchange rates and avoiding competitive devaluations, it struggled to avoid negative spillovers. Despite years of effort, the G20 has made limited progress in reducing global imbalances. Current account imbalances are creeping back to pre‐crisis levels. Public debt remains high and most economies are moving in the wrong direction in correcting imbalances in household savings and debt. The paper concludes that the G20 has done better in some areas than others. But to suggest the G20 is a forum in decline ignores its shift from reactive crisis response to longer‐term structural challenges outside of the pressing need of an immediate crisis.