The origins of the German current account surplus: Unbalanced productivity growth and structural change
AbstractThe surge in the German current account surplus in the 2000s is often interpreted as the result of efficiency-enhancing structural reforms, especially in the labor market. However, this interpretation is puzzling because the growth rate of the German economy has been one of the lowest in the Euro area in the 2000s. Using empirical evidence and a simple theoretical two-sector model, the paper argues that the German surplus is closely linked to the increasing gap between productivity growth in manufacturing and services. Such gap is due not only to improvements in the manufacturing sector but also to a significant slowdown of productivity growth in services. Therefore, despite the success in export markets, the German surplus may signal long-run weaknesses associated with constraints on service growth and the inability of productivity growth in manufacturing to create positive spill-over effects on services. Persistence of barriers to liberalization in services may partly explain these phenomena. The paper concludes that higher and more balanced growth could lead to an equilibrium reduction of the current account surplus.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 9527.
Date of creation: Jun 2013
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Centre for Economic Policy Research, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ
Phone: 44 - 20 - 7183 8801
Fax: 44 - 20 - 7183 8820
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
- E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Capital; Investment; Capacity
- F31 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Exchange
- F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics
- O40 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2013-09-26 (All new papers)
- NEP-EEC-2013-09-26 (European Economics)
- NEP-EFF-2013-09-26 (Efficiency & Productivity)
- NEP-EUR-2013-09-26 (Microeconomic European Issues)
- NEP-MAC-2013-09-26 (Macroeconomics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Olivier Blanchard, 2007.
"Current Account Deficits in Rich Countries,"
Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia, vol. 54(2), pages 127-158, June.
- Rebekka Christopoulou & Philip Vermeulen, 2012.
"Markups in the Euro area and the US over the period 1981–2004: a comparison of 50 sectors,"
Springer, vol. 42(1), pages 53-77, February.
- Christopoulou, Rebekka & Vermeulen, Philip, 2008. "Markups in the euro area and the US over the period 1981-2004: a comparison of 50 sectors," Working Paper Series 0856, European Central Bank.
- Isabell Koske & Andreas Wörgötter, 2010. "Germany's Growth Potential, Structural Reforms and Global Imbalances," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 780, OECD Publishing.
- Enrico Moretti, 2010. "Local Multipliers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 373-77, May.
- Cheptea, A. & Fontagné, L. & Zignago, S., 2012.
"European Export Performance,"
393, Banque de France.
- Suparna Chakraborty & Robert Dekle, 2009. "Can International Productivity Differences Alone Account for the US Current Account Deficits?," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(4), pages 689-715, 09.
- Jonathan D. Ostry & Carmen M. Reinhart, 1992.
"Private Saving and Terms of Trade Shocks: Evidence from Developing Countries,"
IMF Staff Papers,
Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 39(3), pages 495-517, September.
- Jonathan David Ostry & Carmen Reinhart, 1991. "Private Saving and Terms of Trade Shocks: Evidence from Developing Countries," IMF Working Papers 91/100, International Monetary Fund.
- Helge Berger & Volker Nitsch, 2010. "The Euroâ€™s Effect on Trade Imbalances," IMF Working Papers 10/226, International Monetary Fund.
- Clovis Kerdrain & Isabell Koske & Isabelle Wanner, 2010. "The Impact of Structural Policies on Saving, Investment and Current Accounts," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 815, OECD Publishing.
- Robert Dekle & Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum, 2008.
"Global Rebalancing with Gravity: Measuring the Burden of Adjustment,"
NBER Working Papers
13846, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Robert Dekle & Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum, 2008. "Global Rebalancing with Gravity: Measuring the Burden of Adjustment," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 55(3), pages 511-540, July.
- Stephen L. Parente & Edward C. Prescott, 2002. "Barriers to Riches," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262661306, January.
- Jean-Marc Fournier & Isabell Koske, 2010. "A Simple Model of the Relationship Between Productivity, Saving and the Current Account," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 816, OECD Publishing.
- Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1996. "Foundations of International Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262150476, January.
- Dirk Krueger & Krishna B. Kumar, 2003.
"Skill-specific rather then General Education: A Reason for US-Europe Growth Differences?,"
NBER Working Papers
9408, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Dirk Krueger & Krishna B. Kumar, 2004. "Skill-Specific rather than General Education: A Reason for US--Europe Growth Differences?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 167-207, 06.
- Bussirère, Matthieu & Lopez, Claude & Tille, Cédric, 2013. "Currency Crises in Reverse: Do Large Real Exchange Rate Appreciations Matter for Growth?," MPRA Paper 44053, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Alessandro Rebucci & Nicoletta Batini & Pietro Cova & Massimiliano Pisani, 2009. "Global Imbalances: The Role of Non-TradableTotal Factor Productivity in Advanced Economies," IMF Working Papers 09/63, International Monetary Fund.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.