This paper explores the impact of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and the ensuing financial integration on Euro Area (EA) macroeconomic imbalances. It is found that EMU caused an exceptional deterioration of current account positions in relatively unequal EA countries more than in the others. The explanation provided is that the large increase in money supply following the abolition of capital controls in 1990, of exchange rate risks in 1999 and the parallel softening of domestic credit market regulation throughout the 1990s that lead to downwards interest rate convergence had the effect of relaxing collateral constraints specifically for lower-income households, whose share is found to rise with levels of income inequality. Optimistic expectations about future income led to over-borrowing by these groups. Consequently, current account reversal was asymmetric because the crisis forced indebted lower-income (unskilled) households to abruptly reduce consumption, as they were the first to be pulled out of the labour market and hardly had financial buffers. The hypothesis is tested using a difference-in-difference approach to panel data.

Euro area macroeconomic imbalances and their asymmetric reversal: the link between financial integration and income inequality

MARZINOTTO, Benedicta
2017

Abstract

This paper explores the impact of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and the ensuing financial integration on Euro Area (EA) macroeconomic imbalances. It is found that EMU caused an exceptional deterioration of current account positions in relatively unequal EA countries more than in the others. The explanation provided is that the large increase in money supply following the abolition of capital controls in 1990, of exchange rate risks in 1999 and the parallel softening of domestic credit market regulation throughout the 1990s that lead to downwards interest rate convergence had the effect of relaxing collateral constraints specifically for lower-income households, whose share is found to rise with levels of income inequality. Optimistic expectations about future income led to over-borrowing by these groups. Consequently, current account reversal was asymmetric because the crisis forced indebted lower-income (unskilled) households to abruptly reduce consumption, as they were the first to be pulled out of the labour market and hardly had financial buffers. The hypothesis is tested using a difference-in-difference approach to panel data.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11390/1103467
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