Milestones of European Integration: Which matters most for Export Openness?
The European integration process has removed barriers to trade within Europe. We analyze which integration step has most profoundly influenced the trending behavior of export openness. We endogenously determine the single most decisive break in the trend, account for strong cross-country heterogeneity and propose a new measure for the strength of trend breaks. Highly open economies gain from both, monetary and real integration. In sharp contrast, less open economies do not benefit from real integration and even suffer from monetary integration. The major milestones for France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands are the Euro introduction, the Maastricht Treaty, the Exchange Rate Mechanism I and the merge of EFTA and EEC to the European Economic Area, respectively. Our empirical results have important implications for inner-European economic development, as export openness feeds back into growth, unemployment and income convergence.
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