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Fiscal Divergence and Current Account Imbalances in Europe

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  • Gunther Schnabl
  • Timo Wollmershäuser

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Abstract

Since the breakdown of the Bretton Woods System diverging current account positions in Europe have prevailed. While the Southern and Western European countries have tended to run current account deficits, the current accounts of the Central and Northern European countries, in particular Germany, have tended to be in surplus. The paper scrutinizes the role of diverging fiscal policy stances for current account imbalances in Europe since the early 1970s under alternative institutional monetary arrangements (floating exchange rates, European Monetary System, and European Monetary Union). It sheds light on the interaction of fiscal and monetary policies with respect to their impact on the current account and analyses the role of exchange rate changes and credit facilities as adjustment mechanisms for current account imbalances. Panel regressions reveal a robust impact of fiscal policy divergence on current account imbalances, which to a large extent is independent from the exchange rate regime, but which turns out to be contingent on the monetary policy stance.

Suggested Citation

  • Gunther Schnabl & Timo Wollmershäuser, 2013. "Fiscal Divergence and Current Account Imbalances in Europe," CESifo Working Paper Series 4108, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4108
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Andreas Hoffmann & Gunther Schnabl, 2011. "National Monetary Policy, Internatinal Economic Instability and Feeback Effects - An Overinvestment View," Global Financial Markets Working Paper Series 19-2011, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    2. Hans-Werner Sinn & Timo Wollmershäuser, 2012. "Target loans, current account balances and capital flows: the ECB’s rescue facility," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 19(4), pages 468-508, August.
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    4. 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.
    5. Olivier Jean Blanchard, 1990. "Suggestions for a New Set of Fiscal Indicators," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 79, OECD Publishing.
    6. Jean Pisani-Ferry & Silvia Merler, 2012. "The simple macroeconomics of North and South in EMU," Working Papers 740, Bruegel.
    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. Kim, Soyoung & Roubini, Nouriel, 2008. "Twin deficit or twin divergence? Fiscal policy, current account, and real exchange rate in the U.S," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 362-383, March.
    9. S M Ali Abbas & Jacques Bouhga-Hagbe & Antonio Fatás & Paolo Mauro & Ricardo C Velloso, 2011. "Fiscal Policy and the Current Account," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 59(4), pages 603-629, November.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Nuno Silva, 2015. "The euro area financial network and the need for better integration," Economic Bulletin and Financial Stability Report Articles and Banco de Portugal Economic Studies, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
    2. Gunther Schnabl, 2017. "Monetary policy and overinvestment in East Asia and Europe," Asia Europe Journal, Springer, vol. 15(4), pages 445-462, December.
    3. Mirdala, Rajmund, 2013. "Fiscal Imbalances and Current Account Adjustments in the European Transition Economies," MPRA Paper 50362, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Schnabl, Gunther, 2013. "The global move into the zero interest rate and high debt trap," Working Papers 121, University of Leipzig, Faculty of Economics and Management Science.
    5. Raphael Fischer & Gunther Schnabl, 2018. "Regional heterogeneity, the rise of public debt and monetary policy in post-bubble Japan: lessons for the EMU," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 405-428, April.
    6. Gunther Schnabl, 2015. "Monetary Policy and Structural Decline: Lessons from Japan for the European Crisis," Asian Economic Papers, MIT Press, vol. 14(1), pages 124-150, Winter/Sp.
    7. Boumparis, Periklis & Milas, Costas & Panagiotidis, Theodore, 2017. "Economic policy uncertainty and sovereign credit rating decisions: Panel quantile evidence for the Eurozone," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 39-71.
    8. Hoffmann, Andreas & Schnabl, Gunther, 2016. "Monetary policies of industrial countries, emerging market credit cycles and feedback effects," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 855-873.
    9. Oguzhan Ozcelebi & Nurtac Yildirim, 2017. "Interrelations Between External and Internal Macroeconomic Factors: Empirical Evidence on Some OECD Countries," South-Eastern Europe Journal of Economics, Association of Economic Universities of South and Eastern Europe and the Black Sea Region, vol. 15(2), pages 147-174.
    10. Schnabl Gunther, 2013. "Die japanischen Lehren für die europäische Krise," Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftspolitik, De Gruyter, vol. 62(1), pages 3-22, April.
    11. Fritz Breuss, 2012. "Towards a New EMU," WIFO Working Papers 447, WIFO.
    12. Pablo Duarte & Gunther Schnabl, 2015. "Macroeconomic Policy Making, Exchange Rate Adjustment and Current Account Imbalances in Emerging Markets," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(3), pages 531-544, August.
    13. Unger, Robert, 2017. "Asymmetric credit growth and current account imbalances in the euro area," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 73(PB), pages 435-451.
    14. Gunther Schnabl, 2017. "The Failure of ECB Monetary Policy from a Mises-Hayek Perspective," CESifo Working Paper Series 6388, CESifo.
    15. Andreas Hoffmann & Gunther Schnabl, 2014. "Monetary Policies of Large Industrialised Countries, Emerging Market Credit Cycles and Feedback Effects," CESifo Working Paper Series 4723, CESifo.
    16. Gunther Schnabl, 2013. "The Macroeconomic Policy Challenges of Balance Sheet Recession: Lessons from Japan for the European Crisis," CESifo Working Paper Series 4249, CESifo.
    17. Schnabl, Gunther, 2017. "Monetary policy and wandering overinvestment cycles in East Asia and Europe," Working Papers 148, University of Leipzig, Faculty of Economics and Management Science.
    18. Zoran Grubišić & Sandra Kamenković & Aleksandar Zdravković, 2018. "Impact of government balance and exchange rate regime on current account during the economic cycle: evidence from CEE countries," Zbornik radova Ekonomskog fakulteta u Rijeci/Proceedings of Rijeka Faculty of Economics, University of Rijeka, Faculty of Economics, vol. 36(1), pages 309-336.
    19. Roman Stöllinger, 2020. "Tradability of output and the current account in Europe," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 167-218, February.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Europe; EMU; EMS; current account imbalances; exchange rate adjustment; credit mechanisms; European debt crisis;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H62 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Deficit; Surplus
    • F32 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements
    • F33 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Monetary Arrangements and Institutions
    • F42 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - International Policy Coordination and Transmission

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