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Explaining the Euro crisis: Current account imbalances, credit booms and economic policy in different economic paradigms

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  • Engelbert Stockhammer

    () (Kingston University)

  • Collin Constantine
  • Severin Reissl

Abstract

The paper proposes a post-Keynesian analysis of the Eurozone crisis and contrasts interpretations inspired by New Keynesian, New Classical, and Marxist theories. The origin of the crisis is the emergence of a debt-driven and an export-driven growth model, which resulted in a rapid increase in private debt ratios and current account imbalances. The reason the crisis escalated in southern Europe, but not in other parts of the world, lies in the unique dysfunctional economic policy regime of the Euro area. European fiscal rules and the Troika impose fiscal austerity on countries in crisis and the separation of fiscal and monetary spaces has made countries vulnerable to sovereign debt crises and forced them to comply. We analyse the role different paradigms attribute to current account imbalances, fiscal policy and monetary policy. Remarkably, opposing views on the relative importance of cost and demand developments in explaining current account imbalances can be found in both heterodox and orthodox economics. Regarding the assessment of fiscal and monetary policy there is a clearer polarisation, with heterodox analysis regarding austerity as unhelpful and large parts of orthodox economics endorsing it. We conclude that there is a weak mapping between post-Keynesian, New Classical, New Keynesian and Marxist theories and different economic policy strategies for the Euro area, which we label Keynesian New Deal, European Orthodoxy, Moderate Reform and Progressive Exit respectively.

Suggested Citation

  • Engelbert Stockhammer & Collin Constantine & Severin Reissl, 2016. "Explaining the Euro crisis: Current account imbalances, credit booms and economic policy in different economic paradigms," Working Papers PKWP1617, Post Keynesian Economics Society (PKES).
  • Handle: RePEc:pke:wpaper:pkwp1617
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Uxó González, Jorge & Álvarez, Ignacio & Febrero, Eladio, 2017. "Fiscal space on the eurozone periphery: The case of Spain," IPE Working Papers 84/2017, Berlin School of Economics and Law, Institute for International Political Economy (IPE).

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    Keywords

    Euro crisis; European economic policy; sovereign debt crisis; current account balance; fiscal policy; quantitative easing;

    JEL classification:

    • B00 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - General - - - History of Economic Thought, Methodology, and Heterodox Approaches
    • E00 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - General
    • E50 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - General
    • E63 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Comparative or Joint Analysis of Fiscal and Monetary Policy; Stabilization; Treasury Policy
    • F53 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - International Agreements and Observance; International Organizations
    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises

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