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Fiscal Divergence and Current Account Imbalances in Europe

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  • Schnabl, Gunther
  • Wollmershäuser, Timo

Abstract

Since the breakdown of the Bretton Woods System diverging current account positions in Europe have prevailed. While the Southern and Western European countries have tended to run current account deficits, the current accounts of the Central and Northern European countries, in particular Germany, have tended to be in surplus. The paper scrutinizes the role of diverging fiscal policy stances for current account imbalances in Europe since the early 1970s under alternative institutional monetary arrangements (floating exchange rates, European Monetary System, and European Monetary Union). It sheds light on the interaction of fiscal and monetary policies with respect to their impact on the current account and analyses the role of exchange rate changes and credit facilities as adjustment mechanisms for current account imbalances. Panel regressions reveal a robust impact of fiscal policy divergence on current account imbalances, which to a large extent is independent from the exchange rate regime, but which turns out to be contingent on the monetary policy stance.

Suggested Citation

  • Schnabl, Gunther & Wollmershäuser, Timo, 2013. "Fiscal Divergence and Current Account Imbalances in Europe," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79899, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc13:79899
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Andreas Hoffmann & Gunther Schnabl, 2011. "National Monetary Policy, Internatinal Economic Instability and Feeback Effects - An Overinvestment View," Global Financial Markets Working Paper Series 19-2011, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    2. Hans-Werner Sinn & Timo Wollmershäuser, 2012. "Target loans, current account balances and capital flows: the ECB’s rescue facility," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 19(4), pages 468-508, August.
    3. Hans Genberg & Alexander Swoboda, 1993. "The Provision of Liquidity in the Bretton Woods System," NBER Chapters,in: A Retrospective on the Bretton Woods System: Lessons for International Monetary Reform, pages 269-316 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Gunther Schnabl & Holger Zemanek, 2010. "Inter-temporal Savings, Current Account Dynamics and Asymmetric Shocks in a Heterogeneous European Monetary Union," CESifo Working Paper Series 3279, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. Olivier Jean Blanchard, 1990. "Suggestions for a New Set of Fiscal Indicators," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 79, OECD Publishing.
    6. Jean Pisani-Ferry & Silvia Merler, 2012. "The simple macroeconomics of North and South in EMU," Working Papers 740, Bruegel.
    7. Abad, José & Löffler, Axel & Schnabl, Gunther & Zemanek, Holger, 2012. "Fiscal divergence, current account and TARGET2 imbalances in the EMU," Working Papers 105, University of Leipzig, Faculty of Economics and Management Science.
    8. Kim, Soyoung & Roubini, Nouriel, 2008. "Twin deficit or twin divergence? Fiscal policy, current account, and real exchange rate in the U.S," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 362-383, March.
    9. S M Ali Abbas & Jacques Bouhga-Hagbe & Antonio Fatás & Paolo Mauro & Ricardo C Velloso, 2011. "Fiscal Policy and the Current Account," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 59(4), pages 603-629, November.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Gunther Schnabl, 2017. "The Failure of ECB Monetary Policy from a Mises-Hayek Perspective," CESifo Working Paper Series 6388, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Andreas Hoffmann & Gunther Schnabl, 2014. "Monetary Policies of Large Industrialised Countries, Emerging Market Credit Cycles and Feedback Effects," CESifo Working Paper Series 4723, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Schnabl, Gunther, 2017. "Monetary policy and wandering overinvestment cycles in East Asia and Europe," Working Papers 148, University of Leipzig, Faculty of Economics and Management Science.
    4. Schnabl Gunther, 2013. "Die japanischen Lehren für die europäische Krise," Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftspolitik, De Gruyter, vol. 62(1), pages 3-22, April.
    5. Unger, Robert, 2017. "Asymmetric credit growth and current account imbalances in the euro area," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 73(PB), pages 435-451.
    6. Schnabl, Gunther, 2013. "The global move into the zero interest rate and high debt trap," Working Papers 121, University of Leipzig, Faculty of Economics and Management Science.
    7. repec:kap:iecepo:v:15:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s10368-017-0402-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. repec:eee:jimfin:v:79:y:2017:i:c:p:39-71 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Raphael Fischer & Gunther Schnabl, 2018. "Regional heterogeneity, the rise of public debt and monetary policy in post-bubble Japan: lessons for the EMU," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 405-428, April.
    10. repec:rfe:zbefri:v:36:y:2018:i:1:p:309-336 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Gunther Schnabl, 2013. "The Macroeconomic Policy Challenges of Balance Sheet Recession: Lessons from Japan for the European Crisis," CESifo Working Paper Series 4249, CESifo Group Munich.
    12. repec:kap:asiaeu:v:15:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s10308-017-0490-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Fritz Breuss, 2012. "Towards a New EMU," WIFO Working Papers 447, WIFO.
    14. Rajmund Mirdala, 2013. "Fiscal Imbalances and Current Account Adjustments in the European Transition Economies," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series wp1065, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    15. Pablo Duarte & Gunther Schnabl, 2015. "Macroeconomic Policy Making, Exchange Rate Adjustment and Current Account Imbalances in Emerging Markets," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(3), pages 531-544, August.
    16. Hoffmann, Andreas & Schnabl, Gunther, 2016. "Monetary policies of industrial countries, emerging market credit cycles and feedback effects," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 855-873.
    17. repec:seb:journl:v:15:y:2017:i:2:p:147-174 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Boumparis, Periklis & Milas, Costas & Panagiotidis, Theodore, 2017. "Economic policy uncertainty and sovereign credit rating decisions: Panel quantile evidence for the Eurozone," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 39-71.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • F32 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements

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