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Inter-temporal Savings, Current Account Dynamics and Asymmetric Shocks in a Heterogeneous European Monetary Union

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  • Gunther Schnabl
  • Holger Zemanek

Abstract

In the current debate on the reasons and implications of the Greek and Irish euro crisis, the intra-European current account imbalances have gained rising attention. Whereas Greece and Ireland struggle for austerity in private and public spending, Germany is urged to reduce its current account surplus by increasing wages to forestall a new build-up of unsustainable intra-E(M)U indebtedness. We analyse the emergence of intra-European imbalances since the year 1990 based on the theory of optimum currency areas. We show that the asymmetric shock of the German unification can be seen not only as the origin of the 1992/93 crisis of the European Monetary System, but also for the rising intra-European current account imbalances since the euro introduction and thereby the current European debt crisis. Based on this finding we argue that an increase of German spending to reduce its current account surplus is not only in the interest of German taxpayers to contain financial risk, but would also impose austerity on the rest of Europe. The resulting new wave of crisis could trigger a new round of monetary expansion in the EMU.

Suggested Citation

  • Gunther Schnabl & Holger Zemanek, 2010. "Inter-temporal Savings, Current Account Dynamics and Asymmetric Shocks in a Heterogeneous European Monetary Union," CESifo Working Paper Series 3279, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3279
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Holger Zemanek & Ansgar Belke & Gunther Schnabl, 2010. "Current account balances and structural adjustment in the euro area," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 83-127, May.
    2. Joachim Ragnitz, 2010. "Strukturelle Ursachen des Einkommensrückstands Ostdeutschlands," ifo Dresden berichtet, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 17(02), pages 17-23, 04.
    3. Andreas Hoffmann & Gunther Schnabl, 2011. "A Vicious Cycle of Manias, Crises and Asymmetric Policy Responses – An Overinvestment View," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(3), pages 382-403, March.
    4. Holger Zemanek, 2010. "Competitiveness Within The Euro Area: The Problem That Still Needs To Be Solved," Economic Affairs, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(3), pages 42-47, October.
    5. Karl Brenke, 2001. "Löhne in Ostdeutschland: Anpassung an das westdeutsche Niveau erst auf lange Sicht möglich," DIW Wochenbericht, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 68(24), pages 357-364.
    6. Schnabl, Gunther & Freitag, Stephan, 2010. "Reverse causality in global current accounts," Working Paper Series 1208, European Central Bank.
    7. Ronald I. McKinnon, 2004. "Optimum Currency Areas and Key Currencies: Mundell I versus Mundell II," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(4), pages 689-715, November.
    8. repec:zbw:rwirep:0176 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Corsetti, Giancarlo & Devereux, Michael P. & Hassler, John & Jenkinson, Tim & Saint-Paul, Gilles & Sinn, Hans-Werner & Sturm, Jan-Egbert & Vives, Xavier, 2009. "The financial crisis," Munich Reprints in Economics 20099, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    10. Koedijk, Kees G & Kool, Clemens J M, 1992. "Tail Estimates of East European Exchange Rates," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 10(1), pages 83-96, January.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Gunther Schnabl, 2013. "The Macroeconomic Policy Challenges of Balance Sheet Recession: Lessons from Japan for the European Crisis," CESifo Working Paper Series 4249, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Gunther Schnabl & Stephan Freitag, 2012. "Determinants of Global and Intra-European Imbalances," Global Financial Markets Working Paper Series 25-2011, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    3. Camarero, Mariam & Carrion-i-Silvestre, Josep Lluís & Tamarit, Cecilio, 2015. "Testing for external sustainability under a monetary integration process. Does the Lawson doctrine apply to Europe?," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 343-349.
    4. Gunther Schnabl & Timo Wollmershäuser, 2013. "Fiscal Divergence and Current Account Imbalances in Europe," CESifo Working Paper Series 4108, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. Gunther Schnabl, 2012. "Monetary Policy Reform in a World of Central Banks," Global Financial Markets Working Paper Series 26-2012, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    6. Gunther Schnabl & Stephan Freitag, 2012. "Reverse Causality in Global and Intra-European Imbalances," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(4), pages 674-690, September.
    7. Abad, José & Löffler, Axel & Schnabl, Gunther & Zemanek, Holger, 2012. "Fiscal divergence, current account and TARGET2 imbalances in the EMU," Working Papers 105, University of Leipzig, Faculty of Economics and Management Science.
    8. Vogel, Lukas, 2012. "Structural reforms, fiscal consolidation and external rebalancing in monetary union: A model-based analysis," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 1286-1298.
    9. Vogel, Lukas, 2014. "Nontradable sector reform and external rebalancing in monetary union: A model-based analysis," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 421-434.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    monetary union; German unification; asymmetric shock; current account imbalances; inter-temporal savings; financial crisis; euro crisis; European debt crisis; theory of optimum currency areas;

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • F32 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements
    • F36 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Financial Aspects of Economic Integration

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