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  • Author: Daniel Gros, Alexandr Hobza
  • Publication Date: 11-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: What impact would a fiscal expansion in Germany have on the rest of the euro area? It has been generally suggested that it could go in either of two opposite directions, depending on the relative strength of two effects: the direct trade linkage and the financial market repercussions. A review of the results from four major macroeconomic models shows that the cross-country spillover effects of fiscal policy are indeed of uncertain sign and magnitude. Different models give quite different results if used in standardised simulations in terms of the sign, magnitude and time profile of the impact of a fiscal expansion in one member country (e.g. Germany) on other euro area countries. Fewer results are available concerning the potential spillover effects of structural policies, but they are similar to the ones concerning a budgetary stimulus: the magnitude of the spillover is small and varies across countries and over time.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Human Rights, International Trade and Finance, Migration, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Joanna Apap
  • Publication Date: 10-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Various issues arise in the European context with respect to the boundaries of citizenship; one of the main questions is to what extent the division between the European Union citizens and third country nationals will increase, especially if “deepening” of the Union leads to more tightening of its external borders. This paper addresses the question of how far citizenship rights can be extended to third country migrants in the EU?
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Human Rights, International Trade and Finance, Migration, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Sébastien Jean, Olivier Bontout
  • Publication Date: 09-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper confronts a CGE model to observed evolutions in France, between 1970 and 1992, through a structural decomposition analysis. The choice of the model and the assumption of constant elasticities over time enable the structural change of the economy between two equilibria to be summarised through a set of four types of state variables, reflecting the effect of technical change, changes in factor supplies, shifts in consumption patterns, and international trade. Simulations then allow the contribution of each of these shocks to be assessed. We find that technical change had a strong positive impact on the relative wage of skilled to unskilled workers, while the impact of changes in factor supplies is strongly negative. The effect of international trade is far less important. However, if we take into account a trade-induced effect on productivity, then we find that trade substantially increased wage inequalities.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, France
  • Author: Daniel Gros, Lorenzo Bini-Smaghi
  • Publication Date: 09-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: More than two years after its inception, the ECB is still perceived as lacking transparency by many academics and market participants. Our analysis, based on a series of indicators, suggests instead that the ECB is, at least on paper, one of the most transparent and accountable central banks. The discrepancy between theory and public perception suggests that much remains to be done within the given institutional framework to improve the transparency of the ECB. What is the best way to achieve this goal? Several suggestions have been put forward, such as publishing the detailed minutes of the ECB Governing Council meetings. This would result in shifting the true debate to informal meetings of the Governing Council, while formal meetings would only record pre-packaged consensus with no or little discussion. In our view, the best way to make the ECB more accountable is to engage it in substantive discussions about its policy. The ECB should provide more information about the background analysis that leads to policy decisions. For example, the ECB should transform its 'staff projections' into true inflation forecasts and it should be more open about the arguments that shape the internal debates, which precedes decisions. Accountability cannot be ensured by the ECB alone. An important role has to be played by its counterparts, such as the European Parliament, the Council of EU Finance Ministers and the public at large.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: György Szapáry
  • Publication Date: 05-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper raises some specific issues concerning the choice of exchange rate regime in transition countries during the run-up to EU/EMU membership. It argues that there is no "one-size-fits-all" exchange rate regime that accession countries should uniformly adopt. It also argues that the Maastricht criterion on inflation is inconsistent with the catching-up process because of the Balassa-Samuelson effect and that this inconsistency will encourage a "weighing-in" syndrome: like the boxer who refrains from eating for hours prior to the weigh-in only to consume a big meal once the weigh-in is over, the candidate country will maintain very tight monetary policy and resort to all sorts of techniques (freezing of administered prices, lowering of consumption taxes, etc.) to squeeze down inflation prior to accession only to shift back gears after it has joined the EMU. Indeed, the convergence of short-term interest rates to EMU levels that will come with accession will automatically mean a loosening of monetary policy after the country has become a member of the monetary union. That loosening will be reinforced if the country had previously allowed its exchange rate to appreciate against the euro. The result of this stop-go cycle is that the efficiency of economic management will suffer. It would be better to recognize the principle of the Balassa-Samuelson effect explicitly in the Maastricht criteria by giving more room for maneuver than the one provided by the present rule. The paper makes suggestions on how the Maastricht criterion on inflation could be adjusted and discusses their merits. It concludes that a reasonable compromise would be to define the permissible inflation deviation in reference to the average inflation rate of the euro zone, not the three EU members with the lowest inflation rate.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Agnès Bénassy-Quéré, Lionel Fontagné, Amina Lahrèche-Révil
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The growing globalisation of OECD economies, associated to the progresses in European integration, tends to increase the mobility of capital and to deepen the pressure on tax policies. On the one hand, tax policies are tied by the Stability Pact criteria: the limit imposed on budget deficits leaves little scope for tax rates to decrease. On the other hand, the growing mobility of capital tends to increase the elasticity of tax bases to tax rates, hence reducing the autonomy of governments in increasing taxes.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Francesca di Mauro
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Economic integration between the EU and the CEECs has proceeded at high speed over the 90's, with the main channels of such integration being trade and FDI. Some authors believe that the 'commercial transition' is now complete and that a new, deeper phase of integration has started, with growing flows of FDI in the region. Following a gravity-type approach, in this paper I tackle two difficult issues surrounding the EU-CEECs integration: has FDI in the CEECs region substituted EU exports, therefore harming employment at home? Has FDI in the CEECs region been redirected away from similarly attractive countries, such as Spain and Portugal? By using a unique database on FDI broken down by country and by sector, which allows more detailed qualifications than possible in previous work, the answers to these two questions appear to be negative.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Spain, Portugal
  • Author: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper argues that there might be non-monotonic relationship between the strength of the domestic framework for fiscal policy and the interest of a country to use an external anchor to achieve price stability. Countries with a strong domestic framework, e.g. low public debt, little pressure for excessive expenditure and an efficient tax system, would anyway enjoy low inflation rates and therefore have little need for an external anchor. Countries with high debt or very weak institutions would greatly benefit from an external anchor to save them from the extreme inflation rates they would otherwise have to endure because the market knows that the temptation for them to inflate public debt away is so strong. By contrast, countries with moderately weaknesses might be in a situation where they need some inflation to supplement government revenues with seigniorage, but the inflation resulting from the interaction with the market, which knows about this, is still moderate.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Paul Brenton, Bob Anderton, Eva Oscarsson
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper seeks to identify the contribution of trade and technological change to the increase in inequality between skilled and unskilled workers in Sweden since the 1970s. An empirical approach is adopted which allows for the outsourcing of the low-skill parts of the production chain within industries to low-wage locations and is applied to detailed industry and trade data, the latter distinguishing between low-wage sources of imports and OECD countries. Another feature of the study is the use of data on patents to capture technological change. The paper finds that, in contrast to previous studies, trade with low-wage countries may have contributed to the rise in inequality in Swedish manufacturing. Here we identify this effect through changes in relative import prices and through changes in import penetration measured in volume terms. Changes in import penetration measured in value terms, which have been used in previous studies, are not found to be significant. In addition imports seem to have had a larger effect on inequality in high-skill intensive sectors rather than the low-skill sectors. The empirical results also suggest that the increased use of technology also played a role in creating greater inequality between skilled and unskilled workers in Sweden with the magnitude of this impact increasing in the 1990s.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Sweden
  • Author: Pär Hansson
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper studies the link between production transfer in Swedish-headquartered multinational enterprises (MNEs) and skill upgrading in Swedish manufacturing in the 1990s. The analysis distinguishes between horizontal and vertical foreign direct investment (FDI). The increased employment share in affiliates in non-OECD countries (vertical FDI) has a non-trivial, significantly positive effect on the share of skilled labour in the Swedish parents. On the other hand, the skill upgrading in the parents is unrelated to employment changes in their affiliates in other OECD countries (horizontal FDI). The latter is consistent with implications of the newly developed horizontal MNE models.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Sweden
  • Author: Michael C. Burda
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Widespread concern over real effects of EMU is consistent with new Keynesian approaches to macroeconomic fluctuations, but more difficult to reconcile with a real business cycle (RBC) paradigm. Using a model with frictions as a point of departure, I speculate that nominal price rigidity in Europe is likely to increase, while real rigidities are likely to decrease, as a consequence of monetary union. This logic implies a new European macroeconomic regime in which monetary policy is increasingly "effective" in influencing output in the short run. Similarly, changes in the nature of real and nominal price determination are likely to increase the volatility of the European business cycle. Empirical evidence of increasing covariation of price inflation and declining correlation of wage inflation and real wage growth within EMU countries in the last decade is consistent with this conjecture. Calls for additional labour market flexibility, given the magnitude of what is already in store for Europe, may be unwarranted.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Ulrich Thießen
  • Publication Date: 01-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Following a brief review of the benefits and shortcomings of fiscal decentralisation, the paper attempts to empirically analyse for high-income OECD countries the relationship between per capita economic growth, capital formation and total factor productivity growth, on the one hand, and indicators of fiscal decentralisation, on the other hand. The evidence appears to be consistent with the hypothesis that the benefits of fiscal decentralisation on economic growth and capital formation are limited. However, satisfactory indicators of fiscal decentralisation are yet not existing so that the results are subject to serious qualifications.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Ray Barrell, Karen Dury
  • Publication Date: 01-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Asymmetric economic structures across Europe may result in common shocks having asymmetric effects. In this paper we investigate whether the differences in the structure and dynamics that we observe in the European economies matter for policy design. In particular it is widely believed that labour market responses are different, with the structure of labour demand and the nature of the bargain over wages differing between countries. In addition the European economies move at different speeds in response to common shocks. In this paper we construct three different models of Europe, one where the labour market relationships are separately estimated and assumed to be different, one where the most statistically acceptable commonalties are imposed and one where common labour market relationships are imposed across all member countries. We use panel estimation techniques to test for the imposition of commonalties among countries. We find that it is possible to divide Europe into sub-groups, but it is not possible to have one model of European labour markets. We use stochastic simulation techniques on these different models of Europe and find that the preferred rule for the ECB is a combined nominal aggregate and inflation-targeting rule. We find that while this rule is dominant in all our models, the more inertia that is introduced into the labour markets, the more a nominal aggregate-targeting rule alone may be preferred. However, we conclude, that differences in the labour market transmission mechanisms across the European countries appear to have little influence on the setting of monetary policy for the ECB, although this depends on the relative importance of the different components in the welfare loss function.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Ana Rute Cardoso
  • Publication Date: 01-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The Portuguese economy presents a low unemployment rate when compared to its European counterparts and it has been claimed that this is partly due to the slow restructuring of the economy, which has been keeping its specialisation in traditional industries, some of them major exporting industries. This study analyses job creation and job destruction at the firm level across skill groups, during the 1980s and the 1990s. The major aim is to explore the role of international trade against alternative explanations of job flows, providing an answer to the question: did international trade help sustain the employment of particular groups of workers, namely the least skilled, in the Portuguese economy? Could conditions in international markets therefore have contributed to keep a low unemployment rate? A matched data set on workers and firms is used, which includes a direct measure of the skill of the worker. Results indicate that technology indicators are more relevant determinants of job flows than conditions in international product markets. Indeed, import prices have no impact on job creation or job destruction for the unskilled or on job creation for the skilled. Higher export prices lead to job creation for the skilled labour force, thus pointing to a certain skill upgrading.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Ansgar Belke, Rainer Fehn
  • Publication Date: 11-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper analyses whether differences in institutional structures on capital markets contribute to explaining why some OECD-countries, in particular the Anglo-Saxon countries, have been much more successful over the last two decades in producing employment growth and in reducing unemployment than most continental-European OECD-countries. It is argued that the often-blamed labour market rigidities alone, while important, do not provide a satisfactory explanation for these differences across countries and over time. Financial constraints are potentially important obstacles against creating new firms and jobs and thus against coping well with structural change and against moving successfully toward the “new economy”. Highly developed venture capital markets should help to alleviate such financial constraints. This view that labour-market institutions should be supplemented by capital market imperfections for explaining differences in employment performances is supported by our panel data analysis, in which venture capital turns out to be a significant institutional variable.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Paul Brenton
  • Publication Date: 10-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: EU trade policies and the environment in which they are determined are now considerably different from when the EU came into being in the 1950s. With the exceptions of agriculture and textiles and clothing, tariffs and quantitative restrictions on trade in goods have been reduced to historically very low levels. But trade policy is now about much more than border restrictions upon trade in goods. Trade in services and the impact of national differences in regulatory regimes are now firmly on the trade policy agenda. This paper describes the current multilateral and preferential trade policies of the EU. It highlights the increasing importance of regulatory issues and the fact that some of these are being addressed outside of both multilateral and standard bilateral free trade agreements. This reflects the mixed motives behind EU trade policies and that for trade with certain regions the typical political economy factors framing trade policy are no longer relevant. For example, liberalisation of transatlantic trade, in the limited form at present of mutual recognition of conformity assessment, is being strongly driven by large corporate business. This trend suggests that the pyramid of preferences usually used to depict EU trade policies is becoming very distorted.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Human Rights, International Trade and Finance, Migration, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Daniel Gros, Carsten Hefeker
  • Publication Date: 07-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: What policy objective should a common central bank in a heterogeneous monetary union pursue? Should it base its decisions on the EU-wide average of inflation and growth or should it instead focus on (appropriately weighted) national welfare losses based on national rates of inflation and growth? We find that a central bank that minimises the sum of national welfare losses reacts less to common shocks and that this can lead to higher average union-wide expected welfare, if the variability of common shocks is large relative to the inflation bias. But for countries with a transmission mechanism close to the average, welfare can actually be lower in this case. The inflationary bias depends on the interaction between the transmission mechanism and distortions in labour markets.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Human Rights, International Trade and Finance, Migration, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Kimberly A. Clausing
  • Publication Date: 06-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Multinational firms are an increasingly important part of international economic integration. In recent years, foreign direct investment has been increasing at a rate that exceeds both the rate of growth of international trade and that of income. For many countries, the sales of affiliates of multinational firms have long dwarfed the value of trade. For example, in 1997, European Union country firms exported $283 billion in products to the United States. In the same year, affiliates of E.U.-based multinational firms sold $816 billion worth of products in the United States, almost three times the value of exports.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Human Rights, International Trade and Finance, Migration, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Paul Brenton, John Sheehy, Marc Vancauteren
  • Publication Date: 04-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: With trade in industrial products between the EU and the CEECs now essentially free of tariff and non-tariff restrictions, the principal impact of accession to the EU on trade flows will be through access to the Single Market of the EU. A key element of this will be the removal of technical barriers to trade. In this paper we try and highlight the importance of technical barriers to trade between the EU and the various CEECs, distinguishing sectors according to the different approaches to the removal of these barriers in the EU: mutual recognition, detailed harmonisation (old approach) and minimum requirements (new approach). We utilise two sources of information on technical regulations: a sectoral classification from a previous study of the impact of the Single Market and our own detailed translation of EU product related directives into the relevant tariff codes. The analysis suggests that the importance of technical barriers varies considerably across the CEECs. The adjustment implications of access to the Single Market are likely to be greatest for those most advanced in their accession negotiations.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Human Rights, International Trade and Finance, Migration, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Michael Emerson, Jorge Núñez Ferrer
  • Publication Date: 02-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper describes the development of the negotiations from the birth of the Agenda 2000 proposals to the end of the Berlin European Council Summit and discusses the consequences of the outcome. The study shows to what extent net contributions to the EU budget and narrow national interests dominated the negotiations, at the expense of the original aims of the reforms (to prepare the Union for enlargement and for the next round of WTO negotiations), which were practically forgotten. This type of behaviour is by no means unique. On the contrary, it has been recurrent in the history of the EU. Estimates of future expenditures and own resources show that the Berlin European Council conclusions will prove to be far from satisfactory.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Human Rights, International Trade and Finance, Migration, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Berlin