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The costs of rebalancing the Euro area

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  • Engelbert Stockhammer

    ()
    (Kingston University)

  • Dimitris P. Sotiropoulos

    (Kingston University)

Abstract

This paper investigates the economic costs of Euro area rebalancing. Based on an old Keynesian model we estimate a current account equation, a wage-Phillips curve and an Okun’s Law equation. All estimations are carried out for a panel of eleven Euro area members (excluding Luxembourg). From the estimation results we calculate the output costs of reducing current account deficits. Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain (GIIPS) had, on average, current account deficits of 8.4% of GDP in 2007. To eliminate these current account deficits, it would necessitate a reduction of GPD by some 47%. These are staggering amounts and, indeed we think that such a reduction of GDP should not be imposed in the GIIPS group. Moreover, we doubt whether it would be politically feasible. In principle there are two ways that trade imbalances could be resolved: deflationary adjustment in the deficit countries or inflationary adjustment in the surplus countries. Presently, the burden of adjustment is exclusively on the deficit countries. Our results indicate that the economic costs of this adjustment to those countries are equivalent to the output loss of the Great Depression. An adjustment of the surplus countries would increase growth and it would come with higher inflation, but it would allow rebalancing without a Great Depression in parts of Europe.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Post Keynesian Economics Study Group (PKSG) in its series Working Papers with number PKWP1206.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pke:wpaper:pkwp1206

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Keywords: Rebalancing; Euro area; current account; Phillips curve; Okun’s law;

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  1. Rolf Scheufele, 2008. "Evaluating the German (New Keynesian) Phillips Curve," IWH Discussion Papers 10, Halle Institute for Economic Research.
  2. Peter McAdam & Alpo Willman, 2004. "Supply, Factor Shares and Inflation Persistence: Re-examining Euro-area New-Keynesian Phillips Curves," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 66(s1), pages 637-670, 09.
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  13. Robert J. Gordon, 1998. "Foundations of the Goldilocks Economy: Supply Shocks and the Time-Varying NAIRU," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(2), pages 297-346.
  14. Alvaro Aguiar & Manuel Martins, 2005. "Testing the significance and the non-linearity of the Phillips trade-off in the Euro Area," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 30(3), pages 665-691, October.
  15. Jörg Decressin & Emil Stavrev, 2009. "Current Accounts in a Currency Union," IMF Working Papers 09/127, International Monetary Fund.
  16. Ozlem Onaran, 2011. "From wage suppression to sovereign debt crisis in Western Europe: who pays for the costs of the crisis?," International Journal of Public Policy, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 7(1/2/3), pages 51-69.
  17. Engelbert Stockhammer, 2011. "Wage Norms, Capital Accumulation and Unemployment: A Post Keynesian View," Working Papers wp253, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
  18. Tillmann, Peter, 2005. "The New Keynesian Phillips Curve in Europe: does it fit or does it fail?," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2005,04, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
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