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The euro plus pact: cost competitiveness and external capital flows in the EU countries

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  • Gabrisch, Hubert
  • Staehr, Karsten

Abstract

The Euro Plus Pact was approved by 23 EU countries in March 2011 and came into force shortly afterwards. The Pact stipulates a range of quantitative targets meant to strengthen cost competitiveness with the aim of preventing the accumulation of external financial imbalances. This paper uses Granger causality tests and vector autoregressive models to assess the short-term linkages between changes in the relative unit labour cost and changes in the current account balance. The sample consists of annual data for 27 EU countries for the period 1995-2012. The main finding is that changes in the current account balance precedes changes in relative unit labour costs, while there is no discernible effect in the opposite direction. The divergence in unit labour costs between the countries in Northern Europe and the countries in Southern and Eastern Europe may thus partly be the result of capital flows from the core of Europe to the periphery prior to the global financial crisis. The results also suggest that the measures in the Euro Plus Pact to restrain the growth of unit labour costs may not affect the current account balance in the short term. JEL Classification: E61, F36, F41

Suggested Citation

  • Gabrisch, Hubert & Staehr, Karsten, 2014. "The euro plus pact: cost competitiveness and external capital flows in the EU countries," Working Paper Series 1650, European Central Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20141650
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    Cited by:

    1. Claudius Gräbner & Philipp Heimberger & Jakob Kapeller & Bernhard Schütz, 2017. "Is Europe Disintegrating? Macroeconomic Divergence, Structural Polarisation, Trade and Fragility," wiiw Working Papers 136, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw.
    2. Ludek Kouba & Michal Madr & Danuse Nerudova & Petr Rozmahel, 2016. "Policy Autonomy, Coordination or Harmonization in the Persistently Heterogeneous European Union?," DANUBE: Law and Economics Review, European Association Comenius - EACO, issue 1, pages 53-71, March.
    3. Hubert Gabrisch, 2015. "Net Capital Flows To And The Real Exchange Rate Of Western Balkan Countries," Economic Annals, Faculty of Economics, University of Belgrade, vol. 60(205), pages 31-52, April – J.
    4. Hubert Gabrisch, 2017. "Explaining trade imbalances in the euro area: Liquidity preference and the role of finance," PSL Quarterly Review, Economia civile, vol. 70(281), pages 155-184.
    5. Storm, Servaas & Naastepad, C.W.M., 2015. "Crisis and recovery in the German economy: The real lessons," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 11-24.
    6. Jan Priewe, 2018. "A time bomb for the Euro? Understanding Germany's current account surplus," IMK Studies 59-2018, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
    7. 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.
    8. Servaas Storm & C.W.M. Naastepad, 2015. "NAIRU economics and the Eurozone crisis," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(6), pages 843-877, November.
    9. Caiani, Alessandro & Catullo, Ermanno & Gallegati, Mauro, 2019. "The effects of alternative wage regimes in a monetary union: A multi-country agent based-stock flow consistent model," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 389-416.
    10. Ronny Mazzocchi & Roberto Tamborini, 2019. "Current Account Imbalances and the Euro Area: Alternative Views," EconPol Working Paper 27, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    11. Gheorghe HURDUZEU & Maria-Isadora LAZAR, 2015. "An Assessment of Economic Stability under the New European Economic Governance," Management Dynamics in the Knowledge Economy Journal, College of Management, National University of Political Studies and Public Administration, vol. 3(2), pages 301-315, June.
    12. Gabrisch, Hubert, 2015. "Cross-border finance, trade imbalances and competitiveness in the euro area," MPRA Paper 68518, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Servaas Storm & C.W.M. Naastepad, 2015. "Crisis and Recovery in the German Economy: The Real Lessons," Working Papers Series 10, Institute for New Economic Thinking.
    14. Ludek Kouba & Michal Mádr & Danuše Nerudová & Petr Rozmahel, 2015. "Policy Autonomy, Coordination or Harmonisation in the Persistently Heterogeneous European Union? WWWforEurope Working Paper No. 95," WIFO Studies, WIFO, number 58136.
    15. Servaas Storm & C.W.M. Naastepad, 2016. "Myths, Mix-ups, and Mishandlings: Understanding the Eurozone Crisis," International Journal of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(1), pages 46-71, January.
    16. Leon Podkaminer, 2018. "‘Old’ Europe’s wage dynamics and trade imbalances: Is there a link?," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 45(2), pages 395-408, May.
    17. Engelbert Stockhammer & Collin Constantine & Severin Reissl, 2015. "Neoliberalism, trade imbalances, and economic policy in the Eurozone crisis [Neoliberalism, trade imbalances, and economic policy in the Eurozone crisis]," Nova Economia, Economics Department, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (Brazil), vol. 25(spe), pages 749-775, December.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    current account imbalances; economic crisis; European integration; policy coordination; unit labour costs;

    JEL classification:

    • E61 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination
    • F36 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Financial Aspects of Economic Integration
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics

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