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Rebalancing the Euro area: The costs of internal devaluation

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  • Engelbert Stockhammer
  • Dimitris Sotiropoulos

Abstract

This paper investigates the economic costs of Euro area rebalancing. Based on an old Keynesian model we estimate a current account equation, a wage-Phillips curve and an Okun’s Law equation. All estimations are carried out for a panel of eleven Euro area members (excluding Luxembourg). From the estimation results we calculate the output costs of reducing current account deficits. Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain (GIIPS) had, on average, current account deficits of 8.4% of GDP in 2007. To eliminate these current account deficits, it would necessitate a reduction of GPD by some 47%. These are staggering amounts and, indeed we think that such a reduction of GDP should not be imposed in the GIIPS group. Moreover, we doubt whether it would be politically feasible. In principle there are two ways that trade imbalances could be resolved: deflationary adjustment in the deficit countries or inflationary adjustment in the surplus countries. Presently, the burden of adjustment is exclusively on the deficit countries. Our results indicate that the economic costs of this adjustment to those countries are equivalent to the output loss of the Great Depression. An adjustment of the surplus countries would increase growth and it would come with higher inflation, but it would allow rebalancing without a Great Depression in parts of Europe.

Suggested Citation

  • Engelbert Stockhammer & Dimitris Sotiropoulos, 2012. "Rebalancing the Euro area: The costs of internal devaluation," Working Papers PKWP1206, Post Keynesian Economics Study Group (PKSG).
  • Handle: RePEc:pke:wpaper:pkwp1206
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:taf:rripxx:v:24:y:2017:i:5:p:904-928 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Michaelis Nikiforos & Laura Carvalho & Christian Schoder, 2014. ""Twin deficits" in Greece in search of causality," IMK Working Paper 143-2014, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
    3. 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.
    4. Engelbert Stockhammer & Cédric Durand & Ludwig List, 2015. "European growth models and working class restructuring before the crisis," Working Papers PKWP1508, Post Keynesian Economics Study Group (PKSG).
    5. Philipp Heimberger & Jakob Kapeller, 2017. "The performativity of potential output: pro-cyclicality and path dependency in coordinating European fiscal policies," Review of International Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(5), pages 904-928, September.
    6. Stockhammer, Engelbert & Durand, Cédric & List, Ludwig, 2015. "Growth models and working class restructuring before the crisis," Economics Discussion Papers 2015-4, School of Economics, Kingston University London.
    7. Guschanski, Alexander & Stockhammer, Engelbert, 2017. "Are current accounts driven by competitiveness or asset prices? A synthetic model and an empirical test," Greenwich Papers in Political Economy 17935, University of Greenwich, Greenwich Political Economy Research Centre.
    8. Hatgioannides, John & Karanassou, Marika & Sala, Hector & Karanasos, Menelaos G. & Koutroumpis, Panagiotis, 2017. "The legacy of a fractured Eurozone: the Greek Dra(ch)ma," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 84542, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    9. Eckhard Hein & Eckhard Achim Truger, 2017. "Opportunities and limits of rebalancing the Eurozone via wage policies," FMM Working Paper 06-2017, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Rebalancing; Euro area; current account; Phillips curve; Okun’s law;

    JEL classification:

    • E12 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Keynes; Keynesian; Post-Keynesian
    • E60 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General
    • F40 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - General

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