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  • Author or Editor: Gábor Oblath x
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Abstract

We investigate the relationship between economic growth and real exchange rate (RER) misalignments within the European Union (EU) during the period of 1995–2016. In addition to the relative price level of GDP, we quantify an alternative indicator for the RER: the internal relative price of services to goods. We interpret RER misalignments as deviations from the levels consistent with the levels of economic development among the EU countries. Using pooled OLS and dynamic panel techniques, we find that within the EU over- (under-) valuations are associated with lower (higher) growth. This is mainly due to developments in the countries operating under the fixed exchange rate regimes. Our results indicate that the level of development does not influence the strength of the growth-misalignment relationship within the EU. Regarding the price level of GDP, we find that the positive relationship between undervaluation and growth diminishes with the degree of undervaluation. We find that overvaluation has a statistically significant negative effect on export market shares and private investments, indicating that both the competitiveness and the investment channels play a role in the relationship between growth and RER misalignments. As an extension, we show that the effects of “wage misalignments” from levels consistent with productivity are also negatively related to economic growth. The policy implications of the analysis point to the importance of a growth strategy avoiding overvaluation on the one hand, and to the futility of aiming at excessive undervaluation, on the other.

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