Macroeconomic asymmetry in the Eurozone before and after the Global Financial Crisis: an appraisal of the role of the ECB.
Abstract: The launch of the euro in 1999 was assumed to enhance macroeconomic convergence among EMU economies. We test this hypothesis from a comparative perspective, by calculating different indices to measure the degree of macroeconomic dispersion within the Eurozone, the UK and the USA (1999 – 2019). We use common factor models to produce a single index for each monetary area out of different measures of dispersion. These indices can be used to inform on the degree of optimality of a monetary area. Our results show that macroeconomic dispersion in the Eurozone increased notably even before 2007 and it took significantly longer to return to pre-crisis levels, as compared to the UK and the USA. The paper shows the critical role played by the ECB’s asset purchases programmes in reducing macroeconomic divergences among EMU member states since 2015.