Skip to content!

January 18, 2017


Labor market reforms and current account imbalances - beggar-thy-neighbor policies in a currency union?


January 18, 2017


DIW Berlin im Quartier 110
Room 3.3.002A
Mohrenstraße 58
10117 Berlin


Timo Baas, University Duisburg-Essen

Member countries of the European Monetary Union (EMU) have initiated wideranging labor market reforms in the last decade. This process is ongoing, as countries that are faced with serious labor market imbalances perceive reforms as the fastest way to restore competitiveness within a currency union. This fosters fears among observers about a beggar-thy-neighbor policy that leaves non-reforming countries with a loss in competitiveness and an increase in foreign debt. Using a two-country, two-sector search and matching DSGE model, we analyze the impact of labor market reforms on the transmission of macroeconomic shocks in both non-reforming and reforming countries. By analyzing the impact of reforms on foreign debt, we contribute to the debate on whether labor market reforms increase or reduce current account imbalances.