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Macroeconomic imbalances: a question of trust?

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  • Buetzer, Sascha
  • Jordan, Christina
  • Stracca, Livio

Abstract

In this paper, we address the question of whether cross-country differences in civic capital, notably interpersonal trust, have contributed to the build-up of macroeconomic imbalances over the last three decades. We analyse the link between a stylised index of economic imbalances (a combination of the government budget balance, the inflation rate and the current account balance) and interpersonal trust, alongside other measures of civic and cultural capital, obtained from value survey data for 65 advanced and emerging countries. For the whole set of countries, we find robust empirical evidence for a negative and significant relationship between trust and macroeconomic imbalances which may therefore partly reflect underlying heterogeneity in civic capital. Within the euro area, differences in trust exist although they are not particularly large from an international perspective. With the nexus between trust and macroeonomic imbalances being equally robust we can attribute one fifth of the variation in intra-euro area imbalances to differences in interpersonal trust. Euro area membership and EU fiscal rules do not appear to have weakened the link between the two variables. JEL Classification: F33, F42, Z1

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 1584.

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Date of creation: Aug 2013
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Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20131584

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Keywords: culture; euro area; Macroeconomic imbalances; Trust;

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References

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  1. Friedrich Heinemann & Benjamin Tanz, 2008. "The impact of trust on reforms," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 11(3), pages 173-185.
  2. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2010. "Civic Capital as the Missing Link," Economics Working Papers ECO2010/08, European University Institute.
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  12. Knack, Stephen & Keefer, Philip, 1997. "Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1251-88, November.
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Cited by:
  1. Luigi Guiso & Helios Herrera & Massimo Morelli, 2013. "A Cultural Clash View of the EU Crisis," EIEF Working Papers Series 1321, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Jul 2013.

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