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Current Account Adjustment in the Euro-Zone: Lessons from a Flexible-Price-Model

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  • Christoph Zwick

    () (Karl-Franzens University of Graz)

Abstract

This paper deals the ongoing current account adjustment process in the southern Euro - area countries. It applies an extended version of the Obstfeld/Rogoff (2005) model to Euro-Zone- imbalances and provides an interpretation of the results. I develop a five-region-version of the model, consisting of a EMU – deficit (GIPS)- and a EMU – surplus region besides the United States, Asia and OPEC. The model also allows for changes in the relative size of the tradable- to the non- tradable sector, induced by changes in the relative prices of tradable- to non-tradable goods. The paper shows the approximated sizes and the directions of price movements, which are implied by the current account adjustment process that started in the GIPS countries after the financial crisis. It argues, that declines in output and employment during the adjustment process follow intuitively from the model results. These output losses result from sticky prices in combination with a limited nominal depreciation of the common currency and the importance of intra-EMU adjustment. The paper further shows that supply-side changes, global rebalancing issues and the time horizon of the rebalancing process have an important impact on the size of the price movements. Despite the discussed weaknesses of the model, the analysis clearly suggests unfinished real effective exchange rate adjustment in Greece, Spain and Portugal implying further negative economic consequences on these economies by the rebalancing process. Italy might be an exception.

Suggested Citation

  • Christoph Zwick, 2013. "Current Account Adjustment in the Euro-Zone: Lessons from a Flexible-Price-Model," Graz Economics Papers 2013-08, University of Graz, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:grz:wpaper:2013-08
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    File URL: http://www100.uni-graz.at/vwlwww/forschung/RePEc/wpaper/2013-08.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Andrea Ferrero & Mark Gertler & Lars E. O. Svensson, 2007. "Current Account Dynamics and Monetary Policy," NBER Chapters,in: International Dimensions of Monetary Policy, pages 199-244 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1996. "Foundations of International Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262150476, March.
    3. Lane, Philip R. & Milesi-Ferretti, Gian Maria, 2012. "External adjustment and the global crisis," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 252-265.
    4. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2005. "Global Current Account Imbalances and Exchange Rate Adjustments," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 36(1), pages 67-146.
    5. Przemyslaw Kowalski & Molly Lesher, 2011. "Global Imbalances: Trade Effects and Policy Challenges," OECD Trade Policy Papers 120, OECD Publishing.
    6. Philipp Engler & Michael Fidora & Christian Thimann, 2009. "External Imbalances and the US Current Account: How Supply-Side Changes Affect an Exchange Rate Adjustment ," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(5), pages 927-941, November.
    7. Silvia Merler & Jean Pisani-Ferry, 2012. "Sudden Stops in the Euro Area," Review of Economics and Institutions, Università di Perugia, vol. 3(3).
    8. Engler, Philipp, 2009. "Global rebalancing in a three-country model," Discussion Papers 2009/1, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
    9. Bergin, Paul R., 2006. "How well can the New Open Economy Macroeconomics explain the exchange rate and current account?," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 675-701, August.
    10. Ruo Chen & Gian M Milesi-Ferretti & Thierry Tressel, 2012. "External Imbalances in the Euro Area," IMF Working Papers 12/236, International Monetary Fund.
    11. Jarkko Turunen & Richard T. Harmsen & Tamim Bayoumi, 2011. "Euro Area Export Performance and Competitiveness," IMF Working Papers 11/140, International Monetary Fund.
    12. Betts, Caroline & Devereux, Michael B., 2000. "Exchange rate dynamics in a model of pricing-to-market," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 215-244, February.
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