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Financial supervision to fight fiscal dominance? The gold standard in Greece and South-East Europe between economic and political objectives and fiscal reality, 1841-1939

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  • Matthias Morys

Abstract

We add a historical and regional dimension to the debate on the Greek debt crisis. Analysing Greece, Romania, Serbia/Yugoslavia and Bulgaria from political independence to WW II, we find surprising parallels to the present: repeated cycles of entry to and exit from monetary unions, government debt build-up and default, and financial supervision by West European countries. Gold standard membership was more short-lived than in any other part of Europe due to fiscal dominance. Granger causality tests and money growth accounting show that the prevailing pattern of fiscal dominance was only broken under international financial control, when strict conditionality scaled back the treasury’s influence; only then were central banks able to conduct a rule-bound monetary policy and stabilize their exchange-rates. The long-run record of Greece suggests that the perennial economic and political objective of monetary union membership can only be achieved if both monetary and fiscal policy is effectively delegated abroad.

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  • Matthias Morys, 2016. "Financial supervision to fight fiscal dominance? The gold standard in Greece and South-East Europe between economic and political objectives and fiscal reality, 1841-1939," Discussion Papers 16/05, Department of Economics, University of York.
  • Handle: RePEc:yor:yorken:16/05
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    Keywords

    fiscal dominance; gold standard; financial supervision; South-East Europe;

    JEL classification:

    • N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N14 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: 1913-
    • N23 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N24 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - Europe: 1913-
    • 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
    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems

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