Archive for March, 2009

The state of EU integration

Home Bias and Market Integration in the EU, by Narcissa Balta and Juan Delgado

CESIFO Economic Studies, (2009); vol. 55(1), pp. 110-144.

cesifoThe Single Market has been one of the core policies of the European Union. Twenty years after the launch of the Single Market Programme national borders still matter in Europe and consumption baskets and investment portfolios of EU countries still contain a predominant share of home products and equity. This article evaluates the success of integration policies in the European Union by assessing the magnitude and evolution of home bias across Europe in goods and services markets and in equity portfolio holdings. There are large differences in the degree of home bias across European countries. More worrisome is the home bias in goods and services that has barely changed in recent years. This might indicate that traditional integration policies are no longer effective and need to be transformed to continue delivering.

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Why Spain needs to restructure its services industry

¿Por qué es necesaria la reforma del sector servicios? (Why is it necessary to restructure the services sector?), by Juan Delgado

Cuadernos de Información Económica: Crisis Borrascosas, no. 209, pags. 29-33, marzo/abril 2009.

Europe has made in recent decades a great effort to liberalize its product markets. The flagships of this initiative were the Single Market Program launched in the eighties with the aim of eliminating barriers to free movement of capital, people, goods and services, and the recent Services Directive focussed in the liberalization of services. Despite these initiatives, the growth of EU economies, and in particular, the contribution of the services sector, has been generally lower than in the US. In the last decade, productivity in the US has grown faster than in the EU, mainly driven by the productivity of the services industry.

In Spain, productivity barely increased in the last decade and the services sector contribution to productivity growth has been close to nothing. The reform of the services industy in order to remove barriers to entry and restrictions that prevent its proper functioning is necessary to improve the competitiveness of the Spanish economy.

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