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Income Inequality and Macroeconomic Imbalances under EMU

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  • Benedicta Marzinotto

Abstract

This paper explains the build-up and reversal of euro area macroeconomic imbalances by considering the interaction between the underlying income distribution in each country and EMU-induced financial liberalization. The argument is that the sharp increase in money supply since the early 1990s had the effect of relaxing collateral constraints for illiquid lower- income groups, whilst having no specific impact on other households. The former started over-borrowing against optimistic expectations about their future income. It follows that unequal countries such as Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain - where the share of lower-income groups is relatively high - had greater private debt burdens and worse external positions than equal countries. Consequently, current account reversal was asymmetric because the crisis forced these indebted households to abruptly reduce consumption not least because they were the first to be pulled out of the labour market and hardly had financial buffers. The hypothesis is tested using a difference-in-difference approach to panel data.

Suggested Citation

  • Benedicta Marzinotto, 2016. "Income Inequality and Macroeconomic Imbalances under EMU," LEQS – LSE 'Europe in Question' Discussion Paper Series 110, European Institute, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:eiq:eileqs:110
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    File URL: http://www.lse.ac.uk/europeanInstitute/LEQS/LEQSPaper110.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Alberto Cardacci & Francesco Saraceno, 2017. "Inequality and Imbalances : a Monetary Union Agent-Based Model," Sciences Po publications 30, Sciences Po.
    2. Fırat Bilgel & Burhan Can Karahasan, 2016. "Thirty Years of Conflict and Economic Growth in Turkey: A Synthetic Control Approach," LEQS – LSE 'Europe in Question' Discussion Paper Series 112, European Institute, LSE.
    3. Alberto Cardaci & Francesco Saraceno, 2017. "Inequality and Imbalances : a Monetary Union Agent-Based Model," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2017-30, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
    4. 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).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    current account; income inequality; financial liberalization; debt leverage; difference-in-difference;

    JEL classification:

    • F32 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics
    • E2 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment

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