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German Economic Models, Transnationalization and European Imbalances

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  • Hans-Michael Trautwein

    () (University of Oldenburg - International Economics & ZenTra)

  • Finn Marten Körner

    () (University of Oldenburg - International Economics & ZenTra)

Abstract

Germany’s net exports and macroeconomic policy stance are controversial issues in current debates about the Eurozone debt crisis. This paper shows that both are characteristics of what has been described in a variety of political economy literatures as the German socio-economic model. We argue that the model has evolved in three stages, from the economic miracle of the post-war era through the era of “Germany Inc.” and Bundesbank hegemony to the present transnationalization of German industries and finance. The three stages of the German model – or Models D, mark I - III – correspond closely to the exchange rate regimes of Bretton Woods, the European Monetary System and European Monetary Union (EMU). We describe them in three analogous settings that specify their different working conditions under the respective exchange-rate regime, following a chronology of success, dynamic instability and transformation. We point out that, while the German economy has under-gone substantial changes, there are two different mindsets of model thinking in Germany that have been remarkably persistent in public debate. We refer to these two mindsets as ordoliberalism and neo-mercantilism. Ordoliberalism is the normative mindset of policy speakers and academic econo-mists, whereas neo-mercantilism is the practical mindset of policymakers and business leaders. We discuss the differences and complementary uses of these modes of German model thinking and draw attention to their flaws and inadequacies at the present stage of European integration and transnationalization of the German economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Hans-Michael Trautwein & Finn Marten Körner, 2014. "German Economic Models, Transnationalization and European Imbalances," ZenTra Working Papers in Transnational Studies 28 / 2014, ZenTra - Center for Transnational Studies, revised Jan 2014.
  • Handle: RePEc:zen:wpaper:28
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bernanke, Ben S. & Mihov, Ilian, 1997. "What does the Bundesbank target?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(6), pages 1025-1053, June.
    2. Hans-Werner Sinn, 2009. "Can Germany Be Saved?: The Malaise of the World's First Welfare State," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262512602.
    3. Dennis J. Snower & Alessio J. G. Brown & Christian Merkl, 2009. "Globalization and the Welfare State: A Review of Hans-Werner Sinn's Can Germany Be Saved?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(1), pages 136-158, March.
    4. Dornbusch, Rudiger, 1993. "The End of the German Miracle," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(2), pages 881-885, June.
    5. Hagemann, Harald, 2005. "Dismissal, Expulsion, and Emigration of German-Speaking Economists after 1933," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 27(04), pages 405-420, December.
    6. Hans-Werner Sinn, 2006. "The Pathological Export Boom and the Bazaar Effect: How to Solve the German Puzzle," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(9), pages 1157-1175, September.
    7. Luigi Bonatti & Andrea Fracasso, 2013. "The German Model and the European Crisis," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(6), pages 1023-1039, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Marcell Zoltán Végh, 2014. "Has Austerity Succeeded in Ameliorating the Economic Climate? The Cases of Ireland, Cyprus and Greece," Social Sciences, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 3(2), pages 1-20, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    macroeconomic policy regimes; export-led growth; global imbalances; ordoliberalism; neo-mercantilism;

    JEL classification:

    • E61 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination
    • F43 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Economic Growth of Open Economies
    • F62 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization - - - Macroeconomic Impacts
    • N14 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: 1913-
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth

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