Does austerity work?

For about three years, many European countries have been tackling their debt problems with austerity measures. But does cutting your way to growth work?

In Europe and elsewhere, government spending programs are being cut and taxes raised in what the International Monetary Fund (IMF) innocuously calls ‘fiscal consolidation’. We know it as ‘austerity’.

The word ‘austere’ means severe or strict in manner, attitude or appearance. A secondary definition, and one more pertinent to an economic discussion, is of ‘having no comforts or luxuries’ in living conditions.

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