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The political economy of twin deficits and wage setting centralization

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  • Hamzeh Arabzadeh

    () (Paris School of Economics, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, CES and UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES))

Abstract

This paper contributes to the literature on current account imbalances. Econometric analysis of the paper finds evidence that wage centralization, in a cross-section of industrialized economies, significantly improve current accounts through reducing budget deficits. To explain this empirical finding, the paper provides a political economy framework in which the government follows preferences of N-sector workers (majority rule). An increase in public and so, current account deficits by issuing external public debt leads to real appreciation of the currency. As between-sector mobility is constrained by friction in the labor market, wages in N-sector rises. The opposite happens if the government improves the two balances by rising its saving. Thus, N-sector workers relatively support (oppose) more a rise (reform) in the two deficits. Centralization of wage bargaining moderates the benefit and costs from such twin-deficit policies by reducing the responsiveness of sectoral wage with respect to sectoral prices. Thus, the more centralized is the wage determination, the less N-sector workers support (oppose) a rise (reform) in the two deficits. Correspondingly, more centralized wage bargaining reduces the government's political incentive (cost) to deteriorate (reform) the external balance through the fiscal balance.

Suggested Citation

  • Hamzeh Arabzadeh, 2016. "The political economy of twin deficits and wage setting centralization," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2016017, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  • Handle: RePEc:ctl:louvir:2016017
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    File URL: http://sites.uclouvain.be/econ/DP/IRES/2016017.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Jan Behringer & Till van Treeck, 2017. "Varieties of capitalism and growth regimes," FMM Working Paper 09-2017, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Twin deficits; Current account imbalances; Dutch disease; Search and Match; Wage bargaining Centralization; Real Exchange rate;

    JEL classification:

    • F32 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects
    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics

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