, Volume 45, Issue 2, pp 409–424 | Cite as

Beyond Balassa and Samuelson: real convergence, capital flows, and competitiveness in Greece

  • Ansgar Belke
  • Ulrich Haskamp
  • Gunther Schnabl
Original Paper


To better understand the convergence process prior and since the European financial and debt crisis, we scrutinize the role of capital flows for competitiveness in Greece and a set of six other euro area member countries (Portugal, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Slovenia and the Slovak Republic). For this purpose the paper extends the seminal Balassa–Samuelson model by international capital markets with a particular focus on their impact on national wage policies. Capital flows are assumed to be able to invert the traditional direction of transmission of real wage increases from the tradable sector to the non-tradable sector and to make real wages increase beyond productivity increases. The augmented Balassa–Samuelson model is extended to trace cyclical deviations of real exchange rates from the productivity-driven equilibrium path. Panel estimations for the period from 1995 to 2013 reveal correlations in line with the Balassa–Samuelson effect, if Greece is excluded from the panel. For Greece, this in turn implies indication in favour of a credit-driven real wage increases beyond productivity increases what we call a “pseudo” Balassa–Samuelson effect.


Balassa–Samuelson effect Capital inflows Exchange rate regime Inflation Greece Latvia Portugal Panel model Productivity differential Wages 

JEL Classification

E24 F16 F31 F32 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ansgar Belke
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Ulrich Haskamp
    • 1
  • Gunther Schnabl
    • 4
  1. 1.University of Duisburg-EssenEssenGermany
  2. 2.CEPS BrusselsBrusselsBelgium
  3. 3.IZA BonnBonnGermany
  4. 4.University of LeipzigLeipzigGermany

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