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Monetary integration, soft budget constraints, and the EMU sovereign debt crises

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  • Thushyanthan Baskaran
  • Zohal Hessami

Abstract

One possible explanation for the European sovereign debt crises is that the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) gave rise to consolidation fatigue or even deliberate over-borrowing. This paper explores the validity of this explanation by studying how three decisive stages in the history of the EMU affected public borrowing in EU member states: the signing of the Maastricht treaty in 1992, the introduction of the Euro in 1999, and the suspension of the SGP in late 2003. The methodology relies on difference-in-difference regressions covering 26 OECD countries over the 1975-2009 period. The findings indicate that the first two 'treatments' reduced deficits especially in traditional high-deficit countries. In contrast, the watering down of the original SGP encouraged borrowing in countries which traditionally have had high deficits.
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  • Thushyanthan Baskaran & Zohal Hessami, 2017. "Monetary integration, soft budget constraints, and the EMU sovereign debt crises," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(3), pages 252-275, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ecopol:v:29:y:2017:i:3:p:252-275
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/ecpo.12093
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    Cited by:

    1. Piotr Ciżkowicz & Andrzej Rzońca & Rafał Trzeciakowski, 2015. "Windfall of Low Interest Payments and Fiscal Sustainability in the Euro Area: Analysis through Panel Fiscal Reaction Functions," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(4), pages 475-510, November.
    2. 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.
    3. Jäger, Jannik & Grigoriadis, Theocharis, 2016. "Soft budget constraints, European Central Banking and the financial crisis," Discussion Papers 2016/7, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
    4. Ansgar Belke & Jens Klose, 2017. "Equilibrium Real Interest Rates and Secular Stagnation: An Empirical Analysis for Euro Area Member Countries," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(6), pages 1221-1238, November.
    5. Adrian Chadi & Matthias Krapf, 2017. "The Protestant Fiscal Ethic: Religious Confession And Euro Skepticism In Germany," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 55(4), pages 1813-1832, October.
    6. Alison Johnston & Bob Hancké & Suman Pant, 2013. "Comparative Institutional Advantage in the European Sovereign Debt Crisis," LEQS – LSE 'Europe in Question' Discussion Paper Series 66, European Institute, LSE.
    7. János Kornai, 2014. "The soft budget constraint," Acta Oeconomica, Akadémiai Kiadó, Hungary, vol. 64(supplemen), pages 25-79, November.
    8. Thushyanthan Baskaran, 2013. "Do bailouts buy votes? Evidence from a panel of Hessian municipalities," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 257-278, August.
    9. Kornai, János, 2014. "Bevezetés A puha költségvetési korlát című kötethez [Introduction to the author s volume entitled Soft Budget Constraint]," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(7), pages 845-897.
    10. Jäger, Jannik & Grigoriadis, Theocharis, 2017. "The effectiveness of the ECB’s unconventional monetary policy: Comparative evidence from crisis and non-crisis Euro-area countries," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 21-43.
    11. Johnston, Alison & Hancké, Bob & Pant, Suman, 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.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • F42 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - International Policy Coordination and Transmission
    • H62 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Deficit; Surplus
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt

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