25 Jahre IWH

Real Effective Exchange Rate Misalignment in the Euro Area: A Counterfactual Analysis

Makram El-Shagi Axel Lindner Gregor von Schweinitz

in: Review of International Economics , Nr. 1, 2016


The European debt crisis has revealed severe imbalances within the Euro area, sparking a debate about the magnitude of those imbalances, in particular concerning real effective exchange rate misalignments. We use synthetic matching to construct a counterfactual economy for each member state in order to identify the degree of these misalignments. We find that crisis countries are best described as a combination of advanced and emerging economies. Comparing the actual real effective exchange rate with those of the counterfactuals gives evidence of misalignments before the outbreak of the crisis: all peripheral countries appear strongly and significantly overvalued.

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Financial Constraints on Growth: Comparing the Balkans to Other Transition Economies

Hubert Gabrisch

in: Eastern European Economics , Nr. 4, 2015


This article applies an adjusted growth diagnostic approach to identify the currently most binding constraint on financing growth in the West Balkan countries. Since this group of economies faces both structural and systemic transformation problems, the original supply-side approach might not be sufficient to detect the most binding constraint. The results of the analysis indicate that the binding constraint on credit and investment growth in the region is the high and increasing share of nonperforming loans, primarily in the household sector, due to policy failures. This article compares the Balkan countries to a group of advanced transition economies. Single-country and panel regressions indicate that demand-side factors do not play a constraining role on growth in the West Balkan countries, but they do in the advanced transition economies.

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Risk and Return - Is there an Unholy Cycle of Ratings and Yields?

Makram El-Shagi Gregor von Schweinitz

in: Economics Letters , 2015


After every major financial crisis, the question about the responsibility of the rating agencies resurfaces. Regarding government bonds, the most frequently voiced concern targeted “unreasonably” bad ratings that might trigger capital flights and increasing risk premia which sanction further rating downgrades. In this paper we develop a multivariate, nonparametric version of the Pesaran type cointegration model that allows for nonlinearities, to show that a unique equilibrium between ratings and sovereign yields exists. Therefore, we have to reject the concern that there is an unholy cycle leading to certain default in the long run.

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The Impact of Preferences on Early Warning Systems - The Case of the European Commission's Scoreboard

Tobias Knedlik

in: European Journal of Political Economy , 2014


The European Commission’s Scoreboard of Macroeconomic Imbalances is a rare case of a publicly released early warning system. It allows the preferences of the politicians involved to be analysed with regard to the two potential errors of an early warning system – missing a crisis and issuing a false alarm. These preferences might differ with the institutional setting. Such an analysis is done for the first time in this article for early warning systems in general by using a standard signals approach, including a preference-based optimisation approach, to set thresholds. It is shown that, in general, the thresholds of the Commission’s Scoreboard are set low (resulting in more alarm signals), as compared to a neutral stand. Based on political economy considerations the result could have been expected.

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Exchange Rate Regime, Real Misalignment and Currency Crises

Oliver Holtemöller Sushanta Mallick

in: Economic Modelling , Nr. 34, 2013


Based on 69 sample countries, this paper examines the effect of macroeconomic fundamentals on real effective exchange rates (REER) in these sample countries. Using the misalignment of actual REER from its equilibrium level, we have estimated the factors explaining the extent of currency over- or under-valuation. Overall, we find that the higher the flexibility of the currency regime, the lower is the misalignment. The estimates are robust to different sub-samples of countries. We then explore the impact of such misalignment on the probability of a currency crisis in the next period, indicating the extent to which misalignment could be used as a leading indicator of a potential crisis. This paper thus makes a new contribution to the debate on the choice of exchange rate regime by bringing together real exchange rate misalignment and currency crisis literature.

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