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Current Account Imbalances in the Euro Area: Catching up or Competitiveness?

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  • Ansgar Belke
  • Christian Dreger

Abstract

In the debate on global imbalances, the euro area countries did not receive much attention so far. While the current account is on balance for the entire area, divergences between individual member states have increased since the introduction of the common currency. In this paper, the imbalances are traced to catching up and competitiveness factors using paneleconometric techniques. In line with the intertemporal approach to the current account, low income countries tend to run deficits, while rich countries realize surpluses. However, the effect diminishes, if early years are dropped from the sample. The competitiveness channel is more robust and shows the expected sign, i.e. a real appreciation leads to external deficits. To restore competitiveness, a reduction of unit labour costs is on the agenda. Since a deterioration of competitiveness is not a feasible strategy for the surplus countries, an asymmetric response across countries is required in order to reduce the imbalances.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research in its series Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin with number 1106.

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Length: 21 p.
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp1106

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Keywords: Current account imbalances; catching up and competitiveness; euro area;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Christian Schoder & Christian R. Proaño & Willi Semmler, 2012. "Are the current account imbalances between EMU countries sustainable?," IMK Working Paper 90-2012, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
  2. Belke, Ansgar & Dreger, Christian & Ochmann, Richard, 2012. "Do Wealthier Households Save More? The Impact of the Demographic Factor," IZA Discussion Papers 6567, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Gehringer, Agnieszka, 2012. "Another look at the determinants of current account imbalances in the European Union: An empirical assessment," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 142, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
  4. Alison Johnston & Bob Hancké & Suman Pant, 2013. "Comparative institutional advantage in the European sovereign debt crisis," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 53177, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  5. Hubert Gabrisch & Karsten Staehr, 2012. "The Euro Plus Pact: Competitiveness and External Capital Flows in the EU Countries," Working Papers 324, Institut für Ost- und Südosteuropaforschung (Institute for East and South-East European Studies).
  6. Vincent Duwicquet & Jacques Mazier & Jamel Saadaoui, 2012. "Exchange Rate Misalignments, Fiscal Federalism and Redistribution: How to Adjust in a Monetary Union," Post-Print halshs-00848886, HAL.
  7. Alison Johnston & Bob Hancké & Suman Pant, 2013. "Comparative Institutional Advantage in the European Sovereign Debt Crisis," Europe in Question Discussion Paper Series of the London School of Economics (LEQs) 6, London School of Economics / European Institute.
  8. Gabrisch, Hubert & Staehr, Karsten, 2014. "The euro plus pact: cost competitiveness and external capital flows in the EU countries," Working Paper Series 1650, European Central Bank.
  9. Blaise Gnimasoun & Valérie Mignon, 2013. "Current-account adjustments and exchange-rate misalignments," EconomiX Working Papers 2013-31, University of Paris West - Nanterre la Défense, EconomiX.
  10. Issiaka Coulibaly & Blaise Gnimassoun, 2013. "Current account sustainability in Sub-Saharan Africa: Does the exchange rate regime matter?," EconomiX Working Papers 2013-42, University of Paris West - Nanterre la Défense, EconomiX.
  11. Duwicquet, Vincent & Mazier, Jacques & Saadaoui, Jamel, 2012. "Désajustements de change, fédéralisme budgétaire et redistribution : comment s’ajuster en union monétaire
    [Exchange Rate Misalignments, Fiscal Federalism and Redistribution: How to Adjust in
    ," MPRA Paper 42858, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  12. Sanchez , Jose Luis Diaz & Varoudakis, Aristomene, 2013. "Growth and competitiveness as factors of Eurozone external imbalances : evidence and policy implications," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6732, The World Bank.
  13. Christian Kirchner & Ansgar Belke & Christoph Degenhart & Joachim Wieland, 2011. "Schuldenkrise der Euro-Peripherieländer: Wie sollte die Restrukturierung der Schulden geregelt werden?," Ifo Schnelldienst, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 64(11), pages 03-16, 06.
  14. Saadaoui, Jamel, 2012. "Déséquilibres globaux, taux de change d’équilibre et modélisation stock-flux cohérente
    [Global Imbalances, Equilibrium Exchange Rates and Stock-Flow Consistent Modelling]
    ," MPRA Paper 51332, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  15. Angelini, Elisabetta Croci & Farina, Francesco, 2012. "Current account imbalances and systemic risk within a monetary union," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 83(3), pages 647-656.
  16. Stefan Ederer & Stefan Schiman, 2013. "Analyse der österreichischen Handelsbilanz," FIW Research Reports series V-003, FIW.

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