Real Convergence in the Euro Area: A Long-Term Perspective
102 Pages Posted: 5 Dec 2017
Date Written: December 1, 2017
In the euro area, there is mixed evidence that the GDP per capita of lower-income economies has been catching up with that of higher-income economies since the start of monetary union. The significant real convergence performance of some of the most recent members contrasts with that of the economies of southern Europe, which have not met expectations. However, attributing all the blame for this outcome to the introduction of the single currency simply misses the point. By taking a “long view” and reviewing the evidence since the 1960s, this paper shows that certain member countries began to face a “non-convergence trap” long before the euro years. We also provide stylised facts on: (i) the central role of total factor productivity in driving real convergence in the euro area over time, alongside other factors; and (ii) the crucial interaction of real convergence with “Maastricht convergence” and institutional quality, the other two key components of sustainable economic convergence. We conclude that it is critical that the euro area countries facing convergence challenges enhance the resilience of their economic structures by improving the relevant institutions and governance.
Keywords: sustainable economic convergence, real convergence, nominal convergence, GDP per capita, Maastricht convergence criteria, institutional quality, labour productivity, total factor productivity, Five Presidents’ Report, Reflection Paper on the Deepening of EMU
JEL Classification: E01, F15, J11, O11, O43, O47, O52, O57
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation