Reforms, Finance, and Current Accounts

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1 Università degli Studi di Torino Dipartimento di Economia Cognetti De Martiis Reforms, Finance, and Current Accounts Giuseppe Bertola, Anna Lo Prete Università di Torino

2 Labor market (de)regulation: More/less unisurable risk? More/less productive efficiency? Current account implications of reforms: more risk => precautionary savings increase: SURPLUS. more future production => consume more now,.deficit. IF CAN BORROW

3 t A model Higher labor productivity π requires mobility investment: for production efficiency, π ( π ( x,g) > π ( x,b) > 0 l,g ) - (1-l,b) = (1+ r) k at the margin => labor allocation. Other factors: inframarginal production.

4 Redistribution and idiosyncratic uncertainty, Choose m, c (no insurance, possibly restrained borrowing).,

5 Indifference to mobility by marginal worker. = Euler conditions if unrestrained borrowing:

6 Solution, under CARA Precaution. Risky arbitrage.

7 Redistribution: More tax? less risk. = Less precaution. More/less mobility? More tax? Smaller net, larger gross wage differential: Less mobility, lower future production and income.

8 Borrowing constraints: Individual cost of funds differs from country s. Mobility investment => compress consumption, Larger future wage differential for indifference: Less mobility, lower future production. Deregulation. Higher future productivity & current consumption? 1... encourages efficient labor market mobility 2...can borrow against future income Depending on financial market development, 1&2 can be strong enough to offset precautionary decrease in consumption.

9 DATA INSTITUTIONS: CEP-OECD Institutions Data Set compiled by the LSE FINANCIAL DEVELOPMENT: LTV data collected by Jappelli and Pagano (1996), Catte et al. (2004), and other sources MACROECONOMIC VARIABLES: IMF World Economic Outlook, and World Bank s World Development Indicators online database 19 OECD countries: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States Period: SAMPLE (unbalanced panel): 393 observations

10 - EPL CA EFFECTS OF REFORMS AND FINANCE - Trade union density - Marginal tax rate - Loan-to-Value Ratio (LTV) Controls: - Government balance to GDP ratio, country and/or time effects

11 Dependent variable: Current Account/GDP Structural Reform Variables Employment Protection Trade Union Density Marginal Tax Rate Main effect of FD Financial Development interaction Relative LTV Control Variables Government Balance/GDP Country effects no yes no yes Time effects no no yes yes Number of observations R MAIN SPECIFICATION >0 deregulation affects variability more than future level of income, to a lesser extent if better developed financial markets.

12 Dependent variable: Current Account/GDP External and demographics controls Terms-of-trade, Real exch.rate, Demographics. Financial Openness Relative income level Structural Reform Variables Employment Protection Trade Union Density Marginal Tax Rate Main effect of FD Financial Development interaction Relative LTV Relative financial openness Control Variables Government Balance/GDP Terms of Trade Real Effective Exchange Rate Demographics Relative GDP p.c.a Still >0 CONTROLS negative interaction Financial openness: Not significant. GDP level (cnvrgnc): Does not affect results. Arguably extraneous to reforms, Sensible estimates.

13 Dependent variable: Current Account/GDP Country-specific reform patterns ROBUSTNESS CHECKS 5-year subperiods Structural Reform Variables Employment Protection Trade Union Density Marginal Tax Rate Main effect of FD Still > Financial Development interaction Relative LTV Country effects yes yes yes no no no Control Variables Government Balance/GDP negative interaction Country effects no yes yes no yes yes Period effects no no yes no no yes Number of observations R Country-specific reform 5-year averages (less cycle) trends: less precise estimation, ok if country and period effects.

14 CA and reform panel facts: initially highly regulated countries reform, tend to CA surplus flexible with better financial market access tend to CA deficit. Many other differences, possibly spurious correlation robust to country and period effects. Next: inspect elements of theoretical mechanism.

15 REFORMS and CONSUMPTION, GDP, INVESTMENT Dependent variable: Consumption/GDP GDP per capita, based on CPI Investment/GDP Summary Reforms indicator from CA/GDP regressions Lagged dependent variable Control Variables Government Balance/GDP Country effects no yes yes no yes yes no yes yes Period effects no no yes no no yes no no yes Number of observations Deregulation: lower consumption, faster growth, more investment.

16 REFORMS and RISK Dependent variable: Earnings inequality 5-year standard deviation of output growth Summary Reforms indicator from CA/GDP regressions Summary Reforms indicator, Deregulation : cumulated Lagged dependent variable Control Variables Government Balance/GDP Country effects no yes yes yes yes no yes yes yes yes Period effects no no yes no yes no no yes no yes Number of observations More inequality, Not aggregate instability: reforms and finance great moderation

17 CONCLUDING REMARKS Theory: labor market reform and current accounts, more growth more risk balance depends on access to finance. Data: Precautionary-savings effects stronger than productivity effects, To an extent that depends on financial development. Further work will same mechanism work in reverse in time of crisis?

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