This paper analyzes the process of destabilization, crisis and adjustment in the Greek economy since the accession of the country to the European Union and, subsequently, the euro area. It reviews four policy cycles of the past 40 years, the four acts of the Greek tragedy, and discusses alternative ways forward, following the sudden stop and the great depression of the 2010s. It concludes that despite the significant constraints implied by continued participation in the euro area, namely a stark Mundellian conflict between internal and external balance, exiting the euro area risks further destabilizing the economy and bringing about a return of the problems of the 1980s. The current challenge for Greece is to seek to remain and prosper in the euro area. This would require a policy mix based on supply side reforms which would allow for a sustained recovery without the reemergence of external imbalances.
This paper was presented to the Tufts/LSE Conference on Greece and the Euro: From Crisis to Recovery on April 12, 2019.
George Alogoskoufis, Greece and the Euro: A Mundellian Tragedy
CGK Working Paper no. 2019-01 (March 2019)
This paper compares financial openness with autarky in a neoclassical growth model, with adjustment costs for investment. We analyse the relation between growth and the current account in the transition towards the balanced growth path, and derive the implications of the two financial regimes for the balanced growth path. For an economy with an initial capital stock which is lower than the rest of the world, output (GDP) per capita on the balanced growth path is the same under financial openness and autarky. However, Gross National Product (GNP) and consumption per capita are lower under financial openness than under autarky. The reason is that the economy has to pay interest on the foreign debt it has accumulated during the transition. During the transition, the economy runs current account deficits and accumulates net foreign debt. The opposite applies to an economy, whose initial capital stock is higher than the rest of the world. There are benefits from financial openness and inter-temporal trade for either type of economy, as, during the transition, the path of the world real interest rate differs from the path of autarky real interest rates for either type of economy.
This paper examines the effects of government debt policies with imperfect substitutability between securities issued by different countries. It puts forward an intertemporal model of a small open economy to analyze the effects of government debt on the real interest rate, economic growth, private consumption and the balance of payments. The model is an endogenous growth, overlapping generations model with convex adjustment costs for investment, and imperfect substitutability between domestic and foreign bonds. It is shown than an increase in the government debt to output ratio causes the spread between the domestic and the foreign real interest rate to rise and the endogenous growth rate to fall. In addition, when domestic government bonds are relatively close substitutes for foreign bonds, the rise in government debt causes a temporary rise in domestic consumption, as current generations view government debt as wealth. The current account moves into deficit, the economy decumulates net foreign assets, and in the new long run equilibrium both the consumption to output ratio and net foreign assets as a proportion of output fall. When domestic government bonds are not close substitutes for foreign bonds, the rise in government debt causes a temporary fall in domestic consumption, as the negative real interest rate effect of the rise in government debt dominates the wealth effect. In this case the current account improves and in the new long run equilibrium both the consumption to output ratio and net foreign assets as a proportion of output rise.
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Discussion Paper no. 9-13, Department of Economics, Athens University of Economics and Business
This paper puts forward an intertemporal model of a small open economy to analyze the effects of money, government debt and real shocks on growth, inflation and external balance. The model is an endogenous growth, overlapping generations model, with money in the utility function, convex adjustment costs for investment, and perfect substitutability between domestic and foreign bonds. It is shown that the growth rate depends only on the world real interest rate, the productivity of domestic capital, the adjustment cost parameter for investment and the depreciation rate. It does not depend on money, budgetary policies or the preferences of domestic consumers. Consumption of goods and services and external balance, in addition to the world real interest rate and the domestic productivity of capital, depend on money, budgetary policies and the preferences of domestic consumers. The model is used to analyze the full effects of real and monetary shocks. Monetary growth is not superneutral in this model, as it affects domestic consumption and the net foreign position of the economy.
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Working Paper 16-2012 Department of Economics AUEB
This paper puts forward an intertemporal model of a small open economy which allows for the simultaneous analysis of the determination of endogenous growth and external balance. The model assumes infinitely lived, overlapping generations that maximize lifetime utility, and competitive firms that maximize their net present value in the presence of adjustment costs for investment. Domestic securities are assumed perfect substitutes for foreign securities and the economy is small in the sense of being a price taker in international goods and assets markets. The endogenous growth rate is determined solely as a function of the determinants of domestic investment, such as the world real interest rate, the technology of domestic production and adjustment costs for investment. The endogenous growth rate is independent of domestic savings and the preferences of consumers. Given the domestic growth and investment rate, the preferences of consumers determine the current account and external balance. The model can also be used to analyze the implications of budgetary policy. The world real interest rate affects growth negatively but has a positive impact on external balance. The productivity of domestic capital affects growth positively but causes a deterioration in external balance. Government consumption and government debt affect the current account and external balance negatively, but do not affect the endogenous growth rate. This model addresses and resolves the indeterminancy problems that arise in comparable representative household endogenous growth models of small open economies.
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Working Paper 15-2012 of Department of Economics AUEB
This paper provides an analysis and assessment of the Greek sovereign debt crisis, and examines alternative solutions to the problem. In order to put the current fiscal predicament of Greece in perspective and discuss how the Greek debt crisis might possibly be resolved, the paper first provides a detailed account of how the sovereign debt of Greece was accumulated and then stabilized relative to GDP. It then proceeds with an account of how the international financial crisis led to a de- stabilization of Greece’s sovereign debt, and with an assessment of the adjustment program currently in operation. We address the question of solvency, and whether the current program is sufficient for the resolution of Greece’s debt crisis. The paper concludes with proposals for tackling the confidence crisis and speeding up the recovery of the Greek economy.
GreeSE Paper no 54, Hellenic Observatory, London School of Economics