OECD Economics Department Working Papers

Working papers from the Economics Department of the OECD that cover the full range of the Department’s work including the economic situation, policy analysis and projections; fiscal policy, public expenditure and taxation; and structural issues including ageing, growth and productivity, migration, environment, human capital, housing, trade and investment, labour markets, regulatory reform, competition, health, and other issues.

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Identifying Determinants of Germany's International Price Competitiveness

A Structural VAR Approach

The paper employs a structural vector auto-regression (SVAR) along the lines of Blanchard and Quah (1989) and Clarida and Gali (1994) to identify the sources of changes in German international price competitiveness over the past 30 years. This leads to a separation of the driving forces of the real exchange rate into real demand, supply, and nominal shocks. Based on this decomposition, it is analysed whether real exchange rate changes have helped to stabilise output in the post re-unification period and whether such changes have facilitated the ongoing structural adjustment process of the German economy. The results indicate that real demand and nominal shocks have been the main drivers of the real exchange rate in the past, whereas output fluctuations have been almost entirely due to supply shocks. In particular, it turns out that improvements of Germany’s price competitiveness in the second half of the 1990s have been primarily the result of a relative domestic demand restraint and hardly that of supply side expansions.


Keywords: SVAR, historical decomposition, German international competitiveness, real exchange rates
JEL: C32: Mathematical and Quantitative Methods / Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables / Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models: Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes; State Space Models; F31: International Economics / International Finance / Foreign Exchange; F41: International Economics / Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance / Open Economy Macroeconomics
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