Asymmetric Shocks, Structural Rigidities and Adjustment Capability in EMU - A Review
The high degree of sustainable nominal convergence between EMU member states have not implied a corresponding degree of real and structural convergence. Still existing structural asymmetries in the monetary union, which is not an Optimum Currency Area, are bound to broaden due to continuous enlargement of Europe, giving rise to various kinds of shocks and divergences, poor economic performance in some member countries and to Europe as a whole. This paper examines the potential sources of asymmetries, which to a large extend determine the exposure to asymmetric shocks, or asymmetrical effects stemming from symmetric shocks. We also analyze available adjustment mechanisms and appropriate policy instruments in EMU’s economic reality. Using a set of economic indicators we investigate how some product and labor market rigidities affect in an adverse way macroeconomic performance in EMU. Having restricted the fiscal room for maneuver under the Stability and Growth Pact, existing asymmetries and structural rigidities call for a speed-up of structural reforms, as the only way to growth and prosperity.
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