30 internationally recognized Greek economists issued a clear declaration in favor of YES in the referendum of July 5, 2015 (published on the front page in Kathimerini, 30.6.15)
The referendum on July 5 is NOT for or against a specific agreement. It is for or against the European perspective of the country. A ‘Yes’ vote means “Yes” to Greece, and to staying in the euro zone and the European Union. A “Yes” vote guarantees that Greece will continue its effort to improve the economy and its institutions in order to bridge the gap to more developed European countries. “Yes” is the right choice! A ‘No’ vote would push Greece out of the Eurozone and possibly even out of the European Union.
This would have devastating consequences, both immediate and long-term. The immediate effects of a ‘No’ vote have already started to be visible in the closure of banks. After a “No” outcome in the referendum, the conversion of bank deposits into drachmas and the concomitant halving of their value, to say the least, will be a matter of little time. The ensuing turmoil in the banking system can be expected to lead many businesses to bankruptcy, and unemployment out of control. The new drachma would be strongly undervalued relative to the euro, and salaries and pensions would lose at least half of their value. The government, powerless to balance revenues and expenditures, will print inflationary money, destroying competitiveness of the weak currency. Both exports and imports will be reduced, and without humanitarian aid from Europe, there will be shortages of essential goods such as medicines and fuel. Austerity will be far worse than any agreement to stay in the euro, and it will mostly impact the weakest population segments.
The long-term consequences of a “No” vote will be equally important. Modern, prosperous economies in Europe and the world are based on the market and on healthy competition, and they use part of their wealth to fund a strong welfare state. They also have an efficient public sector, which operates independently of the current government and thus limits partisan influences. Greece’s participation in the core of Europe fosters long-term convergence to European institutions. By contrast, a Greek exit from the euro would strengthen the tendency to clientelist structures and aggravate the timeless pathologies of the Greek economy. This inevitably leads to a closed and impoverished economy with high corruption levels.
The last minute agreement will be mediocre, without many of the necessary structural reforms or the necessary debt and tax relief. However, it maintains the European perspective of the country, giving us also the opportunity to continue to negotiate with our European partners for better conditions, measures to promote growth, and ways to manage the debt. In this context, European institutions and the strong European economies must also respond quickly, assuming their fair share of responsibility for supporting the growth trajectory of Greece.
The Greek people should vote YES in the referendum. YES to the Eurozone and to Europe!
Marios Angeletos, MIT
Costas Azariadis, Washington University at St Louis
George Constantinides, University of Chicago
Harris Dellas, Universität Bern
Manthos Dellis, University of Surrey
Nikos Economides, New York University
Manolis Galenianos, Royal Holloway, University of London
Michael Haliassos, Goethe University Frankfurt
Yiannis Ioannidis, Tufts University
Lucas Karabarbounis, University of Chicago
Yannis Katsoulacos, Athens University of Economics and Business
Christos Kotsogiannis, University of Exeter
Miltos Makris, University of Southampton
Costas Meghir, Yale University
Stelios Michalopoulos, Brown University
Theodoros Palyvos, Athens University of Economics and Business
Stavros Panageas, University of Chicago
Elias Papaioannou, London Business School
Dimitris Papanikolaou, Northwestern University
Evi Pappa, European University Institute
Stylianos Perrakis, Concordia University
Manolis Petrakis, University of Crete
Christopher Pissarides, London School of Economics and University of Cyprus, Nobel Prize in Economics
Vassiliki Skreta, University College London
Thanassis Stengos, University of Guelph
Nickolaos Travlos, ALBA
Dimitris Vayanos, London School of Economics
Nikos Vettas, IOBE and Athens University of Economics and Business
Tasos Xepapadeas, Athens University of Economics and Business
Nikos Yannelis, University of Iowa