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Flexibility versus stability. A difficult trade-off in the Eurozone

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  • De Grauwe, Paul
  • Ji, Yuemei

Abstract

The optimal currency areas (OCA) theory has been influential in pushing eurozone countries towards structural reforms to make product and labour markets more flexible. The underlying assumption of the OCA prescription for structural reform is that asymmetric shocks are permanent. However, when shocks are temporary it does not follow that more flexibility is the answer. When shocks are the result of business cycle movements, the way to deal with them is by stabilisation efforts. We provide empirical evidence that suggests that the biggest shocks in the eurozone were the result of business cycle movements. These were relatively well synchronised, except for their amplitude. We argue that efforts to stabilise the business cycles should be strengthened relative to the efforts that have been made to impose structural reforms, and consider the implications for the governance of the eurozone.

Suggested Citation

  • De Grauwe, Paul & Ji, Yuemei, 2016. "Flexibility versus stability. A difficult trade-off in the Eurozone," CEPR Discussion Papers 11372, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:11372
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    Cited by:

    1. Jeroen Hessel, 2019. "Medium-term asymmetric fluctuations and EMU as an optimum currency area," DNB Working Papers 644, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    2. repec:udc:esteco:v:45:y:2018:i:1:p:79-111 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Nicolas Carnot & Magdalena Kizior & Gilles Mourre, 2017. "Fiscal stabilisation in the Euro-Area: A simulation exercise," Working Papers CEB 17-025, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    4. Alcidi, Cinzia & D’Imperio, Paolo & Thirion, Gilles, 2017. "Risk-sharing and Consumption-smoothing Patterns in the US and the Euro Area: A comprehensive comparison," CEPS Papers 12514, Centre for European Policy Studies.
    5. De Grauwe, Paul & Ji, Yuemei, 2017. "Endogenous Asymmetric Shocks in the Eurozone. The Role of Animal Spirits," CEPR Discussion Papers 11887, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Sondermann, David & Consolo, Agostino & Gunnella, Vanessa & Koester, Gerrit & Lambrias, Kyriacos & Lopez-Garcia, Paloma & Nerlich, Carolin & Petroulakis, Filippos & Saiz, Lorena & Serafini, Roberta, 2019. "Economic structures 20 years into the euro," Occasional Paper Series 224, European Central Bank.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Business Cycles; optimal currency areas; Structural reforms;

    JEL classification:

    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • F44 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - International Business Cycles
    • F45 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Macroeconomic Issues of Monetary Unions

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