Is there a "reform fatigue" in the euro area?
The absence of monetary policy within a currency union increases the need for structural reforms that make the participating economies more flexible. However, the absence of exchange rate risk with respect to the other members of the union may reduce the urgency for such reforms. A number of other considerations also suggest that theory is ambiguous about the impact of participating in a currency union on progress in structural reforms. This paper addresses this issue empirically for the euro area. The results suggest that reforms in the euro area seem to have decelerated following the introduction of the euro, but from a fast pace. The paper discusses a number of possible explanations, including "reform fatigue," the absence of "market punishment," and "good-times" complacency. Estimates from an empirical growth model suggest that the slowing of reforms may slow down annual output growth by up to 0.2%. However, the results are preliminary and depend on the area of reform considered. Furthermore, the reform dynamics may change with the euro area starting slowing at the end of 2007.
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