nep-eec New Economics Papers
on European Economics
Issue of 2017‒04‒09
twenty papers chosen by
Giuseppe Marotta
Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia

  1. Macroeconomic Imbalances in euro- and non-euro area member states By Bobeva, Daniela; Atanasov, Atanas
  2. Negative interest rates, excess liquidity and bank business models: Banks’ reaction to unconventional monetary policy in the euro area By S. Demiralp; J. Eisenschmidt; T. Vlassopoulos
  3. Exchange Rate Pass-Through in the Euro Area By Davor Kunovac; Mariarosaria Comunale
  4. Dynamic scoring of tax reforms in the European Union By Barrios Cobos, Salvador; Dolls, Mathias; Maftei, Anamaria; Peichl, Andreas; Riscado, Sara; Varga, Janos; Wittneben, Christian
  5. Cross-country fiscal policy spillovers and capital-skill complementarity in currency unions By Davoine, Thomas; Molnar, Matthias
  6. "Heterogeneity in the debt-growth nexus: Evidence from EMU countries" By Marta Gómez-Puig; Simón Sosvilla-Rivero
  7. Empirical Investigation of the Effect of Bank Long Term Debt on Loans and Output in the Euro-zone By Claire-Océane Chevallier
  8. External Monetary Shocks to Central and Eastern European Countries By Pierre Lesuisse
  9. Regime-dependent sovereign risk pricing during the euro crisis By Anne-Laure Delatte; Julien Fouquau; Richard Portes
  10. Inflation, real economic growth and unemployment expectations: An empirical analysis based on the ECB Survey of Professional Forecasters By María del Carmen Ramos-Herrera; Simón Sosvilla-Rivero
  11. Financial integration before and after the crisis: Euler equations (re)visit European Union By Tomislav Globan; Petar Sorić
  12. The Risk-Taking Channel of Monetary Policy Transmission in the Euro Area By Matthias Neuenkirch; Matthias Nöckel
  13. The impact of the Great Recession on TFP convergence among EU countries By Dolores Añón Higón; Juan A. Mañez; A. Sanchis; A. Sanchis
  14. Are sovereign credit ratings overrated? By Davor Kunovac; Rafael Ravnik
  15. Fiscal delegation in a monetary union: instrument assignment and stabilization properties By Henrique S. Basso; James Costain
  16. Voting behaviour in the European Parliament and economic governance reform: does nationality matter? By Elisa Cencig; Laura Sabani
  17. Corporate Income Tax Reform in the EU By Jonathan Pycroft; María Teresa Álvarez-Martinez; Salvador Barrios; Maria Gesualdo; Dimitris Pontikakis
  18. Aftershocks of Monetary Unification; Hysteresis with a Financial Twist By Tamim Bayoumi; Barry J. Eichengreen
  19. A Macroeconomic Model of CETA's Impact on Austria By Fritz Breuss

  1. By: Bobeva, Daniela; Atanasov, Atanas
    Abstract: Abstract The recent reforms in the European economic governance framework add to the Stability and Growth pact requirements for establishing a new macroeconomic surveillance mechanism for both euro area and non-euro area countries. The early identification and the prevention of imbalances are of vital importance in a monetary union due to the limitations they impose on the tools available to economic policymaking. This paper examines the macroeconomic imbalances in the euro area countries in comparison with the non-euro area countries based on the set of indicators in the Scoreboard that is part of the Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure (MIP), introduced in 2011. While the aim of the new alert mechanism is to identify potential risks this study goes further in measuring the level of risks by the scope of the deviation from the established thresholds. For this purpose an Integral Macroeconomic Imbalance Indicator (IMII) is constructed. It serves for comparing the level of imbalances between the countries in pre- and post-crisis period. The composed IMII indicates a tangible reduction in the scale of imbalances as compared to the pre-crisis period but the divergence between the countries enlarges. The results undermine the assumptions that the euro area countries will exhibit fewer imbalances as compared to the countries outside of the monetary union. Based on the dynamics of IMII it could be assumed that maintaining the macroeconomic framework within the thresholds is necessary but not sufficient to prevent future crisis. The results further question the ability of the alert mechanism to identify the sources of a future crisis.
    Keywords: Macroeconomic Imbalances, Macroeconomic Imbalances Procedure scoreboard, EU integration, EU convergence
    JEL: E10 E52 E6 E60 E61 E62 F40 F43 F45 F47
    Date: 2016–03–06
  2. By: S. Demiralp (Koc University); J. Eisenschmidt (ECB); T. Vlassopoulos (ECB)
    Abstract: In June 2014 the ECB became the first major central bank to lower one of its key policy rates to negative territory. The theoretical and empirical literature is silent on whether banks’ reaction would be different when the policy rate is lowered to negative levels compared to a standard reaction to a rate cut. In this paper we examine this question empirically by using individual bank data for the euro area to identify possible adjustments by banks triggered by the introduction of negative interest rates through three channels: government bond holdings, bank lending, and wholesale funding. We find evidence of a significant adjustment of banks’ balance sheets during the negative interest rate period. Banks tend to extend more loans, hold more non-domestic government bonds and rely less on wholesale funding. The nature and scope of the adjustment depends on banks’ business models.
    Keywords: negative rates, bank balance sheets, monetary transmission mechanism.
    JEL: E43 E52 G11 G21
    Date: 2017–03
  3. By: Davor Kunovac (The Croatian National Bank, Croatia); Mariarosaria Comunale (Bank of Lithuania, Lithuania)
    Abstract: In this paper we analyse the exchange rate pass-through (ERPT) in the euro area as a whole and for four euro area members - Germany, France, Italy and Spain. For that purpose we use Bayesian VARs with identification based on a combination of zero and sign restrictions. Our results emphasize that pass-through in the euro area is not constant over time - it may depend on a composition of economic shocks governing the exchange rate. Regarding the relative importance of individual shocks, it seems that pass-through is the strongest when the exchange rate movement is triggered by (relative) monetary policy shocks and the exchange rate shocks. Our shock-dependent measure of ERPT points to a large but volatile pass-through to import prices and overall very small pass-through to consumer inflation in the euro area.
    Keywords: Exchange rate pass-through, import prices, consumer prices, inflation, bayesian vector autoregression
    JEL: E31 F3 F41
    Date: 2017–01
  4. By: Barrios Cobos, Salvador; Dolls, Mathias; Maftei, Anamaria; Peichl, Andreas; Riscado, Sara; Varga, Janos; Wittneben, Christian
    Abstract: In this paper, we present the first dynamic scoring exercise linking a multi-country microsimulation and DSGE models for all countries of the European Union. We illustrate our novel methodology analysing a hypothetical tax reform for Belgium. We then evaluate real tax reforms in Italy and Poland. Our approach takes into account the feedback effects resulting from adjustments in the labor market and the economy-wide reaction to the tax policy changes. Our results suggest that accounting for the behavioral reaction and macroeconomic feedback to tax policy changes enriches the tax reforms' analysis, by increasing the accuracy of the direct fiscal and distributional impact assessment provided by the microsimulation model for the tax reforms considered. Our results are in line with previous dynamic scoring exercises, showing that most tax reforms entail relatively smaller feedback effects in terms of the labor tax revenues for tax cuts benefiting workers, compared with the ones granted to firms.
    Date: 2017
  5. By: Davoine, Thomas (Institute for Advanced Studies (IHS) Vienna, Austria); Molnar, Matthias (Institute for Advanced Studies (IHS) Vienna, Austria)
    Abstract: We investigate cross-country fiscal policy spillovers through the integration of capital markets in a currency union and allow capital use in production to differ across countries. Following empirical evidence, we assume that production exhibits capital-skill complementarity. Using a multi-country overlapping-generations model calibrated for 14 European Union countries, we find that output spillovers are small with standard tax reforms but can be sizeable with large government spending increases financed by taxes: long run output losses in shock-free countries can amount to a quarter of the losses in countries hit by the spending shock. Conditional and temporary relaxing of the EU debt ceiling rule could benefit the Union as a whole.
    Keywords: Spillovers, Fiscal policy, Capital-skill complementarity, Multi-country modeling, Computable general equilibrium
    JEL: C68 E62 F21 F45
    Date: 2017–03
  6. By: Marta Gómez-Puig (Risckcenter Research group–IREA. Av. Diagonal 696; 08034 Barcelona,Spain.); Simón Sosvilla-Rivero (Complutense Institute for International Studies, Universidad Complutense de Madrid; 28223 Madrid, Spain.)
    Abstract: The objective of this paper is to examine whether the threshold beyond which public debt may have a detrimental effect on economic growth changes across euro area countries during the 1961-2015 period. In contrast with previous studies, we do not use panel estimation techniques, but implement a time-series analysis for each country based on the growth literature. The results suggest that in all the countries but Belgium a debt increase begins to have detrimental effects on growth well before the SGP debt ceiling (a debt ratio of around 40% and 50% in central and peripheral countries, respectively) is reached. So, although austerity policies should be applied in EMU countries – since according to our results debt reduction barely exerts any significant beneficial impact on EMU countries’ growth – they should be accompanied by structural reforms that can increase their potential GDP. Moreover, as our results suggest that the harmful impact of debt on growth does not occur beyond the same threshold andwith the same intensity in all EMU countries, a focus on average ratios and impacts may be unsuitable for defining policies. Specifically, our findings suggest that the pace of fiscal adjustment should be lower in Greece and Spain than in the other country.
    Keywords: Public debt, economic growth, heterogeneity, multiple structural breaks, euro area, peripheral EMU countries, central EMU countries. JEL classification: C22, F33, H63, O40, O52.
    Date: 2017–03
  7. By: Claire-Océane Chevallier (CREA, Université du Luxembourg)
    Abstract: The objective of this study is to empirically test whether bank loan supply affects output in the Euro-zone from 1999Q1 to 2014Q4. It uses shocks to bank deposits and shocks to bank wholesale debt issuance as instruments in a linear two stage least square specification to evaluate the role of loan supply in affecting output. The findings show that banks' changed preferences for wholesale debt funding are important determinants of loan supply, in particular during the crisis. I also find evidence that loan supply affects output significantly and positively. The validity of the model is also tested by verifying the linearity assumption using non-parametric estimation techniques.
    Keywords: Bank lending channel; Bank funding; Bond issuance; Credit; Euro-area
    JEL: E41 E44 E51 G21
    Date: 2017
  8. By: Pierre Lesuisse (CERDI - Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches sur le Développement International - CNRS - Université d'Auvergne)
    Abstract: Few countries are part of the European Union but on the verge of the Euro-zone. This study aims at identifying the amplitude of the direct ECB monetary policy impact, i.e. the so-called international monetary spillovers, in Central and Eastern European countries (CEECs). The use of a panel-VAR method allows to deal with the small time span and endogeneity. We found that CEECs tend to significantly converge in monetary terms to the ECB standards. The direct impact on real variables remains relatively weak but contrary to the literature, is significant and in line with expectations. A persistent negative adjustment of GDP gives a quick glimpse of a robust reaction against monetary shock when the focus is made on the post-economic crisis period. The exchange rate regime plays a small but significant role in terms of magnitude. This increased interdependence is the result of macroeconomic reforms implemented during the last 25 years.
    Keywords: Monetary integration,External shocks,Panel VAR.
    Date: 2017–02–14
  9. By: Anne-Laure Delatte; Julien Fouquau; Richard Portes
    Abstract: Previous work has documented a greater sensitivity of long-term government bond yields to fundamentals in Euro area stress countries during the euro crisis, but we know little about the driver(s) of regimeswitches. Our estimates based on a panel smooth threshold regression model quantify and explain them: 1) investors have penalized a deterioration of fundamentals more strongly from 2010 to 2012; 2) a key indicator of regime switch is the premium of the financial credit default swap index: the higher the bank credit risk, the higher the extra premium on fundamentals; 3) after ECB President Draghi’s speech in July 2012, it took one year to restore the non-crisis regime and suppress the extra premium. JEL Classification: E44, F34, G12, H63, C23
    Keywords: European sovereign crisis, Panel Smooth Threshold Regression Models, CDS indices
    Date: 2016–05
  10. By: María del Carmen Ramos-Herrera (Department of Quantitative Economics, Universidad Complutense de Madrid); Simón Sosvilla-Rivero (Department of Quantitative Economics, Universidad Complutense de Madrid)
    Abstract: Expectations are at the centre of modern macroeconomic theory and policymakers. In this paper, we examine the predictive ability and the consistency properties of macroeconomic expectations using data of the European Central Bank (ECB) Survey of Professional Forecasters (SPF).
    Keywords: inflation, real economic growth, unemployment, expectations, euro area
    JEL: F31 E31 D84
    Date: 2017–02
  11. By: Tomislav Globan (Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Zagreb); Petar Sorić (Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Zagreb)
    Abstract: This paper offers one of the rare applications of various types of Euler equation tests to estimate the degree of financial integration of 28 EU countries with the Eurozone. The analysis is done separately for risk-free and risky assets in three types of financial markets (bond, stock and money markets). In order to examine whether the recent crisis impacted the levels of financial integration in EU member states, all models were estimated for the entire period of known quarterly data (1995-2014), as well as for the pre-crisis period only. We construct an Euler integration index (EII) that measures the integration level of countries across financial markets and show that the old member states (OMS) recorded higher integration levels than the new member states (NMS) in the pre-crisis period, while the crisis considerably decreased the gap, resulting even with NMS surpassing the OMS in EII values.
    Keywords: consumption, crisis, Euler equation, European Union, financial integration
    JEL: E21 E44 F15 F36
    Date: 2017–04–03
  12. By: Matthias Neuenkirch; Matthias Nöckel
    Abstract: In this paper, we provide evidence for a risk-taking channel of monetary policy transmission in the euro area. Our dataset covers the period 2003Q1-2016Q2 and includes, in addition to the standard variables for real GDP growth, inflation, and the main refinancing rate, indicators of bank lending standards and bank lending margins. Based on vector autoregressive models with (i) recursive identification and (ii) sign restrictions, we show that banks react quickly and aggressively to an expansionary monetary policy shock by decreasing their lending standards. The banks' efforts to keep their lending margins stable are successful, as we find only an insignificant decrease in the margins over the medium-run.
    Keywords: European Central Bank, Macroprudential Policy, Monetary Policy Transmission, Risk-Taking Channel, Vector Autoregression
    JEL: E44 E51 E52 E58 G28
    Date: 2017
  13. By: Dolores Añón Higón (Department of Economic Structure, University of Valencia, Avda. dels Tarongers s/n, 46022 Valencia (Spain).); Juan A. Mañez (Department of Economic Structure, University of Valencia, Avda. dels Tarongers s/n, 46022 Valencia (Spain).; Department of Economic Structure, University of Valencia, Avda. dels Tarongers s/n, 46022 Valencia (Spain).); A. Sanchis (Department of Economic Structure, University of Valencia, Avda. dels Tarongers s/n, 46022 Valencia (Spain).); A. Sanchis (Department of Economic Structure, University of Valencia, Avda. dels Tarongers s/n, 46022 Valencia (Spain).)
    Abstract: This paper provides evidence on the effect of the Great Recession on productivity convergence among EU economies. We use firm data, aggregated at the country-year level, to analyse the evolution of beta-convergence on total factor productivity (TFP) for 2003-2014. We obtain a positive impact of the recession on TFP (unconditional and conditional) beta-convergence across EU economies. These results support the existence of a catching-up process within the EU during the recent financial crisis. Other macroeconomic and institutional characteristics are important in fostering TFP growth, namely R&D intensity and quality of governance.
    Keywords: convergence, TFP, Great Recession, European Union countries
    JEL: F43 O47 O52
    Date: 2017–02
  14. By: Davor Kunovac (Croatian National Bank, Croatia); Rafael Ravnik (Croatian National Bank, Croatia)
    Abstract: In this paper we examine the relevance of changes in sovereign credit rating for the borrowing cost of EU countries. Our results indicate that discretionary credit rating announcements are only of limited economic importance for the borrowing cost of these countries. It seems that rating agencies do not reveal important new information to financial markets, in addition to that already contained in the underlying fundamentals. Hence, given the sentiment in financial markets, the borrowing cost of a country can only be reduced by improving macroeconomic and fiscal fundamentals.
    Keywords: Sovereign credit ratings, borrowing cost, macroeconomic and fiscal fundamentals
    JEL: G14 G24 H63 E62
    Date: 2017–02
  15. By: Henrique S. Basso (Banco de España); James Costain (Banco de España)
    Abstract: Motivated by the failure of fiscal rules to eliminate deficit bias in the euro area, this paper analyzes an alternative policy regime in which each Member State government delegates at least one fiscal instrument to an independent authority with a mandate to avoid excessive debt. Other fiscal decisions remain in the hands of member governments, including the allocation of spending across different public goods, and the composition of taxation. We study the short-and long-run properties of dynamic games representing different institutional configurations in a monetary union. Delegation of budget balance responsibilities to a national or union-wide fiscal authority implies large long-run welfare gains due to much lower steady-state debt. The presence of the fiscal authority also reduces the welfare cost of fluctuations in the demand for public spending, in spite of the fact that the authority imposes considerable “austerity” when it responds to fi scal shocks.
    Keywords: independent fiscal authority, delegation, decentralization, monetary union, sovereign debt
    JEL: E61 E62 F41 H63
    Date: 2017–03
  16. By: Elisa Cencig; Laura Sabani (Dipartimento di Scienze per l'Economia e l'Impresa)
    Abstract: This paper analyses MEPs’ voting behaviour on all regulations and directives forming the Six-Pack and the Two-Pack together with the key vote required to establish the European Stability Mechanism (ESM). Whereas scholarly work has traditionally showed MEPs voting behaviour to be primarily driven by ideology (more specifically, by the MEP’s party group affiliation), we expect to find MEPs’ national origins to play a counterbalancing role and – at least partially – weaken intra-party position on key economic governance matters, where a conflict of interest might exist between creditor and debtor member countries. Logistic regressions were run to test our hypothesis and results do confirm that national interests and country-level economic variables can be strong predictors of MEPs’ votes in a considerable number of cases, opening up new avenues for future research on territorial cleavages in the European Parliament.
    Keywords: European Union, crisis, econometrics, economics.
    Date: 2016
  17. By: Jonathan Pycroft; María Teresa Álvarez-Martinez; Salvador Barrios; Maria Gesualdo; Dimitris Pontikakis
    Abstract: Corporate tax reforms in the EU are motivated by evidence that the current system is unfair and inefficient. Uncoordinated national tax regimes can feature tax loopholes and inconsistencies in the treatment of corporate profits across borders that give rise to strategic tax planning by multinational corporations. There is growing recognition of these issues and a renewed impetus to address them. Attempts to improve international coordination of national corporate tax policies are being undertaken through the OECD Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Project. In this paper, we evaluate the effects that changing the corporate income tax (CIT) rate may have on EU countries using a Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) model. The model captures the key features of the corporate tax regimes including investment decisions, loss compensation, multinational profit shifting and the debt-equity choice of firms. This is a multi-regional model including all 28 EU member states, the USA and Japan. It encapsulates the behaviour of all economic agents, reflecting both the direct and indirect effects of policy changes on macroeconomic variables, such as GDP, investment and employment. We simulate the impact of removing differences in corporate tax rates across EU countries and their effect on tax competition considering both uncoordinated and coordinated changes. For each of the three simulations, revenue neutrality is maintained by adjusting labour taxes to compensate for any revenue increase or shortfall caused. In addition, sensitivity analysis is performed, ensuring budget neutrality through adjusting transfer to pensioners or government expenditure. We first consider simulations where one country raises or lowers its rate in isolation. We simulate an upward adjustment in a low CIT tax economy, namely Ireland, up to the level of a higher tax economy, namely Germany. These two countries represent to polar examples since Ireland has the lowest statutory CIT rate in the EU and in Germany, which is the largest country in the Union, the CIT rate is among the highest. Second, we simulate the reverse case, where Germany reduces its rate to the Irish level. In each case, we observe the impact on the country affected as well as the international spillover effects. The third simulation supposes that all EU member states choose to harmonise their CIT rates at the EU average level. The first two simulations reveal that a tax shift from labour tax to corporate tax (Ireland) has a negative impact on GDP, whilst a tax shift from corporate tax to labour tax (Germany) has a positive impact on GDP. On the other hand, the impact on (after-tax) wages moves in the opposite direction. As anticipated, the German CIT rate simulation causes larger spillover effects, with all other countries' GDP being negatively affected to some degree. Nevertheless, the benefits to Germany are sufficient to slightly raise EU GDP by 0.19 percent. The third simulation, where CIT rates are harmonised across the EU, tends to suggest that a tax shift from corporate tax to labour tax raises GDP, whilst the opposite tax shift lowers GDP; this holds true for 22 out of 28 EU countries. The aggregate impact is a small fall in EU GDP of 0.13 percent. This result broadly holds for the alternative budget-neutral closures. A benefit of CIT rate harmonisation is that it removes much of the incentive to engage in profit shifting. We conclude that reforming corporate taxes can generate substantial responses within the implementing country as well as beyond its own borders. Harmonisation of CIT rates would likely involve winners and losers, and as such, may be best pursued gradually and as part of a broader package of corporate tax reform.
    Keywords: European Union, Tax policy, General equilibrium modeling
    Date: 2016–07–04
  18. By: Tamim Bayoumi; Barry J. Eichengreen
    Abstract: Once upon a time, in the 1990s, it was widely agreed that neither Europe nor the United States was an optimum currency area, although moderating this concern was the finding that it was possible to distinguish a regional core and periphery (Bayoumi and Eichengreen, 1993). Revisiting these issues, we find that the United States is remains closer to an optimum currency area than the Euro Area. More intriguingly, the Euro Area shows striking changes in correlations and responses which we interpret as reflecting hysteresis with a financial twist, in which the financial system causes aggregate supply and demand shocks to reinforce each other. An implication is that the Euro Area needs vigorous, coordinated regulation of its banking and financial systems by a single supervisor—that monetary union without banking union will not work.
    Keywords: European Monetary Union;United States;Western Hemisphere;Optimum currency area, hysterisis, Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy, Financial Aspects of Economic Integration
    Date: 2017–03–13
  19. By: Fritz Breuss (WIFO)
    Abstract: The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the European Union and Canada is the most ambitious (new generation) free trade agreement the EU has ever negotiated. It is a "mixed" agreement with EU and member countries competences. Most elements of the agreement for which the EU has "exclusive competence", including the chapter on tariffs and non-tariff barriers (the dismantling of all barriers to trade in goods and services and market access to foreign direct investment) can – after the European Parliament gave its consent on 15 February 2017 – be applied provisionally in spring 2017. With a specifically constructed macroeconomic trade and growth model for Austria, we simulate the impact of CETA on Austria. CETA will add 0.3 percent to Austria's real GDP in the medium run and will stimulate bilateral trade and FDI. Our model is a small prototype model and can easily be applied to other foreign trade agreements the EU is planning. A comparison shows that TTIP – which is "politically" dead now – would have the biggest impact (real GDP +1.7 percent).The almost finished negotiated EU-Japan foreign trade agreement would result in an increase of Austria's real GDP by 0.4 percent in the medium run.
    Keywords: Free trade agreement, European Union, open-economy macroeconomics
    Date: 2017–03–31
  20. By: Willem Devriendt; Freddy Heylen (-)
    Abstract: In the absence of behavioural adjustments, demographic change may cut off about 0.4%- point on average from the annual per capita growth rate in the next 25 years. The behavioural responses of households and firms to declining fertility and rising life expectancy may significantly change this outcome, but the sign and the size of this change are unclear. In this paper we construct and parameterize a large-scale OLG model for a small open economy to quantify (the net effect of) these behavioural adjustments. Important endogenous variables in the model are hours worked and (un)employment, investment in human and physical capital, per capita growth and inequality. Individuals differ not only by age, but also by innate ability. We calibrate the model to Belgium and find that it replicates key data since about 1960 remarkably well. Simulating the model, we observe significant (positive) behavioural adjustments by households and firms, but these do not reverse the negative arithmetical effect of projected future demographic change on per capita growth. Many of the adjustments have already taken place in previous decades. Furthermore, ongoing adjustments do not affect future domestic output due to capital outflow in a small open economy. To counter (very) poor per capita growth in the next two decades, policy changes will be necessary.
    Keywords: demographic change, population ageing, economic growth, overlapping generations
    JEL: C68 D91 E17 J11 O40
    Date: 2017–03

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