nep-eec New Economics Papers
on European Economics
Issue of 2016‒12‒18
seventeen papers chosen by
Giuseppe Marotta
Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia

  1. Business cycle synchronization in the EMU: Core vs. periphery By Ansgar Belke; Clemens Domnick; Daniel Gros
  2. Volatility spillovers across European stock markets around the Brexit referendum By Hong Li; Shamim Ahmed; Thanaset Chevapatrakul
  3. Policy uncertainty and international financial markets: the case of Brexit By Ansgar Belke; Irina Dubova; Thomas Osowski
  4. Macroeconomic Stabilization, Monetary-fiscal Interactions, and Europe's monetary Union By Corsetti, G.; Dedola, L.; Jarociński, M.; Mańkowiak, B.; Schmidt, S.
  5. "The Short- and Long-run Inconsistency of the Expansionary Austerity Theory: A Post-Keynesian/Evolutionist Critique" By Alberto Botta
  6. A Sustainable Euro Area with Exit Options By Ritzen, Jo; Haas, Jasmina
  7. The productivity slowdown puzzle of European countries: a focus on Italy By Germana Giombini; Francesco Perugini; Giuseppe Travaglini
  8. Clustering in Dynamic Causal Networks as a Measure of Systemic Risk on the Euro Zone By Monica Billio; Lorenzo Frattarolo; Hayette Gatfaoui; Philippe de Peretti
  9. European versus Anglo-Saxon credit view: Evidence from the eurozone sovereign debt crisis By Altdörfer, Marc; de las Salas Vega, Carlos A.; Guettler, Andre; Löffler, Gunter
  10. Are critical slowing down indicators useful to detect financial crises? By Hayette Gatfaoui; Isabelle Nagot; Philippe de Peretti
  11. Measuring fiscal spillovers in EMU and beyond: A global VAR approach By Ansgar Belke; Thomas Osowski
  12. Fiscal Sustainability in EMU contries: A continued Fiscal commitment? By Jordi Paniagua; Juan Sapena; Cecilio Tamarit
  13. The determinants of loan loss provisions: an analysis of the Greek banking system in light of the sovereign debt crisis By Platon Monokroussos,; Dimitrios Thomakos; Thomas A. Alexopoulos
  14. Government Funding Privileges in European Financial Law : Making Public Debt Everybody's Favourite? By van Riet, Ad
  15. Can an Increase in Public Investment Sustainably Lift Economic Growth? By Annabelle Mourougane; Jarmila Botev; Jean-Marc Fournier; Nigel Pain; Elena Rusticelli
  16. A Re-assessment of Fiscal Space in OECD Countries By Jarmila Botev; Jean-Marc Fournier; Annabelle Mourougane
  17. The Product and Sector Level Impact of a Hard Brexit across the EU By Lawless, Martina; Morgenroth, Edgar

  1. By: Ansgar Belke; Clemens Domnick; Daniel Gros
    Abstract: This paper examines business cycle synchronization in the European Monetary Union with a special focus on the core-periphery pattern in the aftermath of the crisis. Using a quarterly index for business cycle synchronization by Cerqueira (2013), our panel data estimates suggest that it is countries belonging to the core that are faced with increased synchronization among themselves after 2007Q4, whereas peripheral countries decreased synchronization with regards to the core, non-EMU countries and among themselves. Correlation coefficients and nonparametric local polynomial regressions corroborate these findings. The usual focus on co-movements and correlations might be misleading, however, since we also find large differences in the amplitude of national cycles. A strong common cycle can thus lead to large differences in cyclical positions even if national cycles are strongly correlated.
    Keywords: business cycles, core-periphery, EMU, local polynomial regressions, synchronicity
    JEL: E32 F15 R23
    Date: 2016–08
  2. By: Hong Li; Shamim Ahmed; Thanaset Chevapatrakul
    Abstract: The vote of the people of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union following the referendum on June 23, 2016, created tremendous uncertainty in the financial markets. This paper documents the stock market interdependence across four major European markets around this rare and unique event. We uncover the characteristics of the volatility spillover dynamics across France, Germany, Switzerland and the United Kingdom using intraday data at 15-minute intervals. Specifically, we quantify four types of volatility spillover measures: total (non-directional) spillovers, gross directional spillovers, net directional spillovers, and net pairwise spillovers. Our results point to considerable interdependence among the four stock markets. We find that France and Germany were in general the net volatility transmitters to others, while Switzerland and the United Kingdom the net receivers from others during January 4, 2016 to September 30, 2016. Around the day of the Brexit referendum, France and the United Kingdom appear to be net transmitters, while Germany and Switzerland net receivers. Our empirical analysis uncovers important information regarding stock market interdependence, which will be beneneficial to both policymakers and practitioners.
    Keywords: Market risk, Stock market, Spillover effect, Vector autoregression, and Variance decomposition.
    Date: 2016
  3. By: Ansgar Belke; Irina Dubova; Thomas Osowski
    Abstract: This study assesses the impact of Brexit uncertainty on the UK and also on international financial markets, for the first and the second statistical moments. As financial markets are highly linked in general and several countries apart from the UK might be negatively affected, one may expect that the (uncertainty about) Brexit does not only have an impact on financial markets in Britain. By analyzing the impact of Brexit on financial markets, we might also get some insights about market’s expectations about the magnitude of the economic impact beyond the UK and which country beyond the UK may be mostly affected. For this purpose, we firstly use the Diebold and Yilmaz (2012) and the Hafner and Herwartz (2008) method to estimate the time-varying interactions between UK policy uncertainty, which to a large extent is attributed to Brexit uncertainty, and UK financial market volatilities (second statistical moment) and try to identify the direction of causality among them. Secondly, we use two other measures of the perceived probability of a Brexit, namely daily data released by Betfair as well as results of polls published by Bloomberg. Based on these datasets and using both panel as well as single-country SUR estimation methods, we analyse the Brexit effect on the levels of stock returns, sovereign CDS, ten-year interest rates of 19 different countries predominantly from Europe as well as of the British pound and of the euro (first statistical moment). We show that Brexit-caused policy uncertainty will continuously cause instability in key financial markets and has the potential to do damage to the UK’s and other European countries’ real economy, even in the medium run. The main losers outside of the UK are the GIIPS economies.
    Keywords: Brexit, causality tests, financial instability, Pound sterling, uncertainty, spillovers
    JEL: C58 D81 E44 F36 G15
    Date: 2016–07
  4. By: Corsetti, G.; Dedola, L.; Jarociński, M.; Mańkowiak, B.; Schmidt, S.
    Abstract: The euro area has been experiencing a prolonged period of weak economic activity and very low inflation. This paper reviews models of business cycle stabilization with an eye to formulating lessons for policy in the euro area. According to standard models, after a large recessionary shock accommodative monetary and fiscal policy together may be necessary to stabilize economic activity and inflation. The paper describes practical ways for the euro area to be able to implement an effective monetary-fiscal policy mix.
    Keywords: Lower Bound on Nominal Interest Rates; Self-fulfilling Sovereign Default; Eurobond; Government Bonds; Joint Analysis of Fiscal and Monetary Policy
    JEL: E31 E62 E63
    Date: 2016–12–15
  5. By: Alberto Botta
    Abstract: This paper provides a critical analysis of expansionary austerity theory (EAT). The focus is on the "theoretical" weaknesses of EAT--the extreme circumstances and fragile assumptions under which expansionary consolidations might actually take place. The paper presents a simple theoretical model that takes inspiration from both the post-Keynesian and evolutionary/institutionalist traditions. First, it demonstrates that well-designed austerity measures hardly trigger short-run economic expansions in the context of expected long-lasting consolidation plans (i.e., when adjustment plans deal with remarkably high debt-to-GDP ratios), when the so-called "financial channel" is not operative (i.e., in the context of monetarily sovereign economies), or when the degree of export responsiveness to internal devaluation is low. Even in the context of non–monetarily sovereign countries (e.g., members of the eurozone), austerity's effectiveness crucially depends on its highly disputable capacity to immediately stabilize fiscal variables. The paper then analyzes some possible long-run economic dynamics, emphasizing the high degree of instability that characterizes austerity-based adjustments plans. Path-dependency and cumulativeness make the short-run impulse effects of fiscal consolidation of paramount importance to (hopefully) obtaining any appreciable medium-to-long-run benefit. Should these effects be contractionary at the onset, the short-run costs of austerity measures can breed an endless spiral of recession and ballooning debt in the long run. If so, in the case of non–monetarily sovereign countries debt forgiveness may emerge as the ultimate solution to restore economic soundness. Alternatively, institutional innovations like those adopted since mid-2012 by the European Central Bank are required to stabilize the economy, even though they are unlikely to restore rapid growth in the absence of more active fiscal stimuli.
    Keywords: Fiscal Policy; Expansionary Austerity Theory; Post-Keynesian Macro Models
    JEL: E12 E61 E62
    Date: 2016–12
  6. By: Ritzen, Jo (IZA and Maastricht University); Haas, Jasmina (Maastricht University)
    Abstract: All explorations of the future of the Euro show serious risks for its survival in the present form. The road map of the Five EU Presidents presented in 2015 is far from sufficient to reduce the risks of the Euro zone falling apart by Brexit type developments or new economic shocks. The EU Presidents rely too much on high international economic growth smoothing the convergence in labor productivity between EU member states, while the more likely low growth scenario shows a serious risk of the Euro‐area falling apart in a chaotic way, through further divergence in labor productivity, through new Banking crises or through the popular vote in response to fiscal and labor market reform. The Presidents argue for strengthening the Banking union with an independent watchdog, with a single resolution mechanism for Bank defaults and for a European credit deposit insurance system. The support for these proposals is overwhelming. They also argue for more transfer of sovereignty on financial policy and for debt mutualisation (sharing of the risks of country debt among all EU countries). This is unlikely to happen, while at the same time the urgency for dealing with the drag imposed by the high debt levels of many EU countries on economic growth is high. We propose that the EU negotiates a New Deal between the highly indebted Euro countries and the other Euro countries. In this deal the trust is built that the richer countries agree on debt mutualization against the assurance of an automatic exit from the Euro area at non‐compliance with the agreed (and simplified) rules.
    Keywords: euro, EMU, debt crisis, stability, fiscal, productivity, financing, banking
    JEL: E02 E24 E32 E44 E62 F15 F21 F36 F44 F45 N24
    Date: 2016–12
  7. By: Germana Giombini (Department of Economics, Society & Politics, Università di Urbino "Carlo Bo); Francesco Perugini (Department of Economics, Society & Politics, Università di Urbino "Carlo Bo"); Giuseppe Travaglini (Department of Economics, Society & Politics, Università di Urbino "Carlo Bo")
    Abstract: With the end of the twentieth century and the beginning of the new millennium in many European countries, and especially those of the Southern Europe, a structural change in the way the economy grows took place. In this essay we use the growth accounting methodology to measure the contribution of different factors to economic growth in some European countries and in the U.S. and to isolate the determinants of the European slowdown during the Great Recession. The focus on Italy suggests that the slowdown of the Italian economy is structural and affects both the non-ICT and ICT sectors.
    Keywords: Institutions, Labour market Policies; Productivity; Competitiveness; Growth Accounting
    JEL: E24 E32 J60 O30
    Date: 2016
  8. By: Monica Billio (University Ca' Foscari of Venice - Department of Economics); Lorenzo Frattarolo (University Ca' Foscari of Venice - Department of Economics); Hayette Gatfaoui (IESEG School of Management (LEM) et Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne); Philippe de Peretti (Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne)
    Abstract: In this paper, we analyze the dynamic relationships between ten stock exchanges of the euro zone using Granger causal networks. Considering returns for which we allow the variance to follow a Markov-Switching GARCH or a Changing-Point GARCH process, we first show that over different periods, the topology of the network is highly unstable. In particular dynamic relationships vanish over very recent years. Then, expanding on this idea, we analyze patterns of information transmission within the network. Using rolling windows to study networks' topology in terms of information clustering, we find that the nodes' state changes continually. Moreover, the system exhibits periods of flickering in information tranmission. During these periods of flickering, the system also exhibits desynchronization in the information transmission process. These periods do precede tipping points or phase transitions on the market, especially before the global financial crisis, and can thus be used as early warnings. To our knowledge, this is the first time that flickering in information transmission is identified on financial markets, and that flickering is related to phase transitions
    Keywords: Causal Network; Topology; Flickering; Desynchronisation; Phase transitions
    JEL: C1 C4 G1
    Date: 2016–05
  9. By: Altdörfer, Marc; de las Salas Vega, Carlos A.; Guettler, Andre; Löffler, Gunter
    Abstract: We analyse whether different levels of country ties to Europe among the rating agencies Moody's, S&P, and Fitch affect the assignment of sovereign credit ratings, using the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis of 2009-2012 as a natural laboratory. We find that Fitch, the rating agency among the "Big Three" with significantly stronger ties to Europe compared to its two more US-tied peers, assigned on average more favourable ratings to Eurozone issuers during the crisis. However, Fitch's better ratings for Eurozone issuers seem to be neglected by investors as they rather follow the rating actions of Moody's and S&P. Our results thus doubt the often proposed need for an independent European credit rating agency.
    Keywords: credit rating agencies,sovereign debt crisis,rating splits,Eurozone
    JEL: F65 G01 G14 G18 G24 H12
    Date: 2016
  10. By: Hayette Gatfaoui (IESEG School of Management (LEM) et Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne); Isabelle Nagot (Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne); Philippe de Peretti (Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne)
    Abstract: In this article, we consider financial markets as complex dynamical systems, and check whether the critical slowing down indicators can be used as early warning signals to detect a phase transition. Using various rolling windows, we analyze the evolution of three indicators: i) First-order autocorrelation, ii) Variance, and iii) Skewness. Using daily data for ten European stock exchanges plus the United States, and focusing on the Global Financial Crisis, our results are mitigated and depend both on the series used and the indicator. Using the main (log) indices, critical slowing down indicators seem weak to predict to predict to Global Financial Crisis. Using cumulative returns, for almost all countries an increase in variance and skewness does precede the crisis. However, first-order autocorrelations of both log-indices and cumulative returns do not provide any useful information about the Global Financial Crisis. Thus, only some of the reported critical slowing down indicators may have informational content, and could be used as early warnings
    Keywords: Critical slowing down; Complex dynamical system; Global financial crisis; Phase transition
    JEL: C1 C4
    Date: 2016–06
  11. By: Ansgar Belke; Thomas Osowski
    Abstract: This paper identifies and measures fiscal spillovers in the EU countries empirically, using a structurally stable global vector autoregression (GVAR) model. For our purposes, the individual EU countries, as well as the most important international trading partners, are modelled with a special focus on the effects of either single-country or coordinated fiscal shocks such as increases in fiscal spending. Our aim is to look at the sign and the absolute values of fiscal spillovers in a country-wise perspective and at the time profile (impulse response) of the impacts of fiscal shocks. For this purpose, we differentiate between the spillovers of fiscal shocks in specific EMU member countries and the spillovers of “regional” shocks, i.e. area-wide shocks to fiscal policy. Fiscal policy is measured by government expenditure, government revenues or the government budget balance, all as percentages of GDP. Special attention is paid to the question of whether or not spillovers are stronger within the EMU group than within the “Rest of Europe” due to tighter financial or trade links.
    Keywords: EMU versus “Rest of Europe”, fiscal policy coordination, fiscal spillovers, GVAR analysis, regional shocks, impulse response analysis, trade weights
    JEL: C50 E61 F15 F42 H60
    Date: 2016–06
  12. By: Jordi Paniagua (Catholic University of Valencia, Faculty of Economics and Business. 34 Calle Corona, Valencia, Spain); Juan Sapena (Catholic University of Valencia, Faculty of Economics and Business. 34 Calle Corona, Valencia, Spain); Cecilio Tamarit (University of Valencia, INTECO Joint Research Unit. Department of Applied Economics II. PO Box 22.006 - E-46071 Valencia, Spain)
    Abstract: The aim of this paper is to study the sustainability of public finances in the Eurozone particularly after the 2007 financial crisis. This paper goes beyond the standard analysis of the univariate properties of the fiscal variables with multiple structural breaks by estimating a time-varying scal reaction function on a 11-country panel for a period spanning from 1970 to 2014. Even if panel unit root or stationary tests can provid a rough first insight on the sustainability of the public finances, they fail to highlight the adjusting mechanisms to debt overhang in recent years. The main advantage of our empirical approach is that it clearly captures governments' dynamic response to debt accumulation, which signals its commitment to readjust public debt towards a sustainable path. Time-varying estimates of the fiscal reaction function sheds new light on this respect and reveal certain heterogeneity among EMU countries on the way they manage their public finances. This paper helps ascertain whether the public resources destined to bail out troubled countries triggered efective fiscal responses.
    Keywords: Fiscal sustainability, panel unit root tests, multiple structural breaks, fiscal reaction function, Kalman filter, time-varying parameters
    JEL: C23 E62 H62 H63
    Date: 2016–12
  13. By: Platon Monokroussos,; Dimitrios Thomakos; Thomas A. Alexopoulos
    Abstract: We utilize a new set of macroeconomic and regulatory data to analyze the evolution of loan loss provisioning practices in the Greek banking system over the period 2005-2015. We explore the determinants of the aggregate loan loss reserves to total loans ratio, which reflects the accumulation of provisions net of write-offs, and constitutes an important metric of the credit quality of loan portfolios. Our results suggest that domestic credit institutions respond relatively quickly to macroeconomic shocks, though the latter’s effects on the provisioning behavior of the domestic banking system show significant persistence. Furthermore, the impact of macroeconomic shocks on the loan loss reserves ratio has become stronger (both in terms of magnitude and statistical significance) following the outbreak of the Greek sovereign debt crisis. From a macro policy perspective, this result indicates that a sustainable stabilization of macroeconomic conditions is a key precondition for safeguarding domestic financial stability. For a regulatory standpoint, it suggests that the possibility of macroeconomic regime-related effects on banks’ provisioning policies should be taken into account when macro prudential stress tests of the banking system are designed and implemented.
    JEL: F3 G3
    Date: 2016–11
  14. By: van Riet, Ad (Tilburg University, Center For Economic Research)
    Abstract: Since the global financial crisis of 2008 European authorities have set out to strengthen financial governance in order to create a more stable and resilient financial system. As discussed in this paper, the new and updated EU legislation addressed at a wide array of financial markets and institutions also significantly broadened the scope of the existing preferential regulatory treatment of sovereign bonds and introduced new funding privileges for governments. The many regulatory incentives for investors to buy and hold (domestic) government debt facilitate public debt management, at the cost of crowding out private sector funding and raising financial stability concerns every time the government faces distress. Moreover, a privileged access to capital markets reduces market discipline and may lead to moral hazard on the part of sovereigns. The growing scope of these government funding privileges in EU financial law may be interpreted in three (complementary) ways: as a revival of financial repression in a modern prudential guise to reduce the burden of high public debt, as a return to the traditional close relationship between the government and the financial sector so as to align mutual interests in fiscal and financial stability, or as a way to increase explicit and implicit taxes on finance and recoup public revenues lost during the financial crisis. The preferential treatment of sovereign exposures and governments’ market access is found in a growing body of EU financial law. Regulatory efforts to reduce it would have to be coordinated at the international level, take account of the financial structure and allow for a (long) period of transition to avoid market disruption.
    Keywords: european financial reform; financial repression; regulator capture; financial stability
    JEL: E44 F3 G18 G28 H63
    Date: 2016
  15. By: Annabelle Mourougane; Jarmila Botev; Jean-Marc Fournier; Nigel Pain; Elena Rusticelli
    Abstract: This paper seeks to identify the conditions under which raising public investment can sustainably lift growth without deteriorating public finances. To do so, it relies on a range of simulations using three different macro-structural models. According to the simulations, OECD governments could finance a ½ percentage point of GDP investment-led stimulus for three to four years on average in OECD countries without raising the debt-to-GDP ratio in the medium term, provided projects are sound. After one year, the average output gains for the large advanced economies of such a stimulus amount to 0.4-0.6%. However, the gains are particularly uncertain for Japan. Reprioritising spending in later years would lead to average long-term output gains of between 0.5 to 2% in the large advanced economies. Those gains depend on the assumptions made on the rate of return. Hysteresis reinforces the case for an investment-led stimulus. Output gains will also be higher if the stimulus is combined with structural reforms and if countries act collectively. Une augmentation de l'investissement public peut-elle durablement augmenter la croissance? Ce document de travail cherche à déterminer les conditions dans lesquelles l'augmentation de l'investissement public peut soutenir la croissance durablement sans détériorer les finances publiques. Pour ce faire, il s'appuie sur une série de simulations utilisant trois modèles macro-structurels différents. Selon les simulations, les gouvernements des pays de l'OCDE pourraient financer une augmentation de l'investissement de ½ point de PIB pendant trois à quatre ans en moyenne dans les pays de l'OCDE sans augmenter le ratio dette sur PIB à moyen terme, à condition que les projets soient de bonne qualité. Après un an, les gains moyens de production pour les grandes économies avancées d'un tel stimulus s'élèvent à 0,4-0,6%. Cependant, ces gains sont particulièrement incertains pour le Japon. Une réallocation des dépenses vers celles qui sont les plus productives les années suivantes, se traduirait par des gains moyens à long terme de production entre 0,5 et 2% dans les grandes économies avancées. Ces gains dépendent des hypothèses retenues sur le taux de rendement. Les effets d'hystérésis renforcent l'argument en faveur d'une augmentation de l'investissement public. Les gains de production seront également plus élevés si le stimulus est combiné à des réformes structurelles et si les pays agissent collectivement.
    Keywords: fiscal multiplier, public debt, public investment
    JEL: E6 C3
    Date: 2016–12–15
  16. By: Jarmila Botev; Jean-Marc Fournier; Annabelle Mourougane
    Abstract: To what extent can public deficits increase without putting fiscal sustainability at risk, given the specific current macroeconomic situation of protracted low growth and low interest rates, combined with relatively high government debt levels? The answer depends on many factors, such as the state of the economy, the fiscal track record and projections of population ageing and their effect on government spending. This paper makes use of three different approaches to better assess fiscal space, which can be defined in a broad manner as the extent to which public debt can increase. These approaches converge to a conclusion that there is fiscal space in most of the large advanced economies. There is also evidence that fiscal space may have risen in most OECD countries since 2014, mainly driven by the decrease in interest rates. Reforms to health and pension programmes would help to create additional fiscal space. Une ré-évaluation des marges de manoeuvre budgétaires dans les pays de l'OCDE Dans quelle mesure les déficits publics peuvent-ils augmenter sans compromettre la viabilité budgétaire? La situation macroéconomique actuelle, caractérisée par une faible croissance prolongée et de faibles taux d’intérêt, combinée à un niveau d’endettement public relativement élevé, justifie une réévaluation de cette question. Sa réponse dépend de nombreux facteurs, tels que l’état de l’économie, les antécédents budgétaires ou les projections du vieillissement de la population et leurs effets sur les dépenses gouvernementales. Ce document utilise trois approches différentes pour mieux évaluer les marges de manoeuvre budgétaires, qui peuvent être définie de manière large comme la mesure dans laquelle la dette publique peut augmenter. Ces approches convergent vers la conclusion qu’il existe des marges de manoeuvre budgétaires dans la plupart des grandes économies avancées. Il est également prouvé que l’espace budgétaire peut avoir augmenté dans la plupart des pays de l’OCDE depuis 2014, principalement sous l’effet de la baisse des taux d’intérêt. Les réformes des programmes de santé et de retraite aideraient à créer des marges de manoeuvre budgétaires supplémentaires.
    Keywords: fiscal space, fiscal sustainability, market access
    JEL: H3 C3
    Date: 2016–12–15
  17. By: Lawless, Martina; Morgenroth, Edgar
    Abstract: The UK exit from the European Union (Brexit) is likely to have a range of impacts, with trade flows likely to be most affected. One possible outcome of Brexit is a situation where WTO tariffs apply to merchandise trade between the UK and the EU. By examining detailed trade flows between the UK and all other EU members, matching over 5200 products to the WTO tariff applicable to external EU trade this paper shows that such an outcome would result in significantly different impacts across countries. Our estimates of exposure at the country level show an extremely wide range with reductions in trade to the UK falling by 5% (Finland) to 43% (Bulgaria) taking into account the new tariffs and the elasticity of the trade response to this price increase. Food and textiles trade are the hardest hit, with trade in these sectors reducing by up to 90%.
    Date: 2016–11

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