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Business Cycle Synchronization in the Euro Area and the Impact of the Financial Crisis

Martin Gächter (), Aleksandra Riedl () and Doris Ritzberger-Grünwald ()
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Doris Ritzberger-Grünwald: Oesterreichische Nationalbank,

Monetary Policy & the Economy, 2012, issue 2, 33–60

Abstract: The extent of synchronization of national business cycles is a widespread indicator for gauging whether individual countries are indeed ready to adopt a common currency. The occurrence of asymmetric shocks and their consequences in Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) may hamper implementation of monetary policy, as such shocks may significantly raise the cost of the single monetary policy for individual countries. This study analyzes whether the synchronization pattern of business cycles in the euro area has systematically changed since the outbreak of the global financial crisis in 2008. Country-specific differences in the terms of trade and fiscal imbalances may have caused the global shock to affect euro area countries asymmetrically. Conversely, the business cycles of individual countries may have become more closely synchronized, as all countries slipped into recession at the same time. For the purpose of this study we use empirical data to establish which of the two effects dominates. The results of the analysis show a pronounced desynchronization of business cycles during the crisis period, both with respect to dispersion and to the correlation of business cycles. Moreover, interesting differences and parallels may be observed between the developments since the beginning of the most recent financial crisis and an earlier period, around 2004, when the output gap in the euro area was negative as well.

Keywords: Keywords: business cycles; European Monetary Union; convergence; financial crisis (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: E32 E61 F02 F44 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2012
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