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Income Convergence and the Impact of the Euro-MED Trade and Financial Integration on Macroeconomic Volatility

Auteur : Neaime Simon, Lagoarde-Segot Thomas, Gaysset Isabelle
Année de Publication : 2018
Type : Rapport
Thème : Commerce

Résumé/Sommaire :

Economic and financial integration efforts between the Mediterranean Partner (MPs) countries and the European Union (EU) were initially introduced by the Cooperation Agreements, which granted total exemption from tariffs on industrial products. These efforts were subsequently enhanced by the Association Agreements that were launched under the Barcelona declaration of 1995, which resulted in MPs reducing or even eliminating tariffs on European industrial imports. At the same time, MPs have opened up considerably to other countries, either under the framework of the EU-Mediterranean (MED) trade agreements, or in the context of widespread reduction in tariffs through the signing of the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements. In early 2000, the Barcelona Process was replaced by the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP), which then was revised in 2015 and became the New European Neighborhood Policy. It is under this framework that the economic relations between the EU and their MPs are now being reshaped. The New European Neighborhood Policy provides a robust platform towards financial assistance through deeper financial integration, greater access to the common market, and better institutionalization of trade and financial relationships. The EU is also proposing a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) that will address agriculture, services, and non-tariff measures. Negotiations for the DCFTA are underway with Morocco and Tunisia. Within the context of this New European Neighborhood Policy and the role of the EU in facilitating the modernization, the transition, and international openness of the Mediterranean countries, this research study assesses the degree of income convergence between the two groups (EU and MED) resulting from those trade agreements, as well as macroeconomic volatility effects of those policies on a selected sample of MPs, in order to identify the winners/losers form these trade agreements.
This said, in this study, we use in a first stage the concepts of σ-convergence and β- convergence to evaluate empirically income convergence among a group of EU-MED countries over the period 1980-2015. We then present a thorough empirical analysis of the implications of the Euro-MED partnership agreements on economic growth and on macroeconomic volatility in a sample of MPs. Because of the initiation of the Barcelona Process and the Neighborhood Policy in 2000, the empirical analysis is carried out sequentially, over 5 and 10-year periods, and then for the period as a whole 1980-2015. The empirical findings show that there is weak evidence of income convergence for a group of EU-MED countries when analyzed in 5- or 10-year subintervals from 1980-2000 in single equation cross section regressions. However, we find statistically significant evidence of real per capita GDP convergence either when the whole sample period 1980-2015 is analyzed or when the 10-year sub-periods are pooled and estimated in panel growth regressions. These are more plausible results both because economic growth and convergence are long run phenomena and because panel methods deliver more efficient parameter estimates. For the period 1980-2000, there is evidence of weak conditional income convergence in the group of EU-MED (16) countries, and this evidence becomes much weaker for the MED group of countries in between 2000-2015. The reason for these results is the negative effects of the European financial and debt crises on the Euro-MED region in general, and on the MED region in particular.
Macroeconomic stability and economic openness turned out to be statistically important factors and have the expected positive effect on economic growth in the MED countries. Indeed, in most of the estimated models, the variable that is consistently the most significant is economic openness. Of the other explanatory variables, population growth has the theoretically expected negative effect on economic growth as it is found in other studies on empirical growth.
Government spending also had a negative effect on economic growth and is statistically significant as is population growth...

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