Trade Patterns in Europe




This thesis investigates in what way trade flows in Europe have been altered and differ for countries belonging to a preferential trade agreement as well as a common currency area. More specifically, how exports among the European countries are affected by memberships with the European Union and the EMU. A total of 72 countries have been chosen which represents the main trading partners between the EU and the rest of the world. Out of these 72 countries, 25 represent EU members which include 12 EMU member countries. The econometric analysis employ a gravity model with 18 variables in order to determine their impact on trade flows. This is done through a regression with a log-log equation where the dependent variable is export. The other variables included are chosen to explain export flows among the EU members as well as their trade with EMU countries and the rest of the world. Furthermore, variables representing trade affinities are included to determine whether or not they have a significant effect on trade.

The regression is divided into four time periods in order to more easily determine how the trade pattern in Europe have altered from the establishment of the EU and the EMU. The first time period represent an early state of EU membership, the second a mature state of EU membership, the third when EU was reformed and the fourth an early state of EMU membership. The regression results illustrate that the majority of the selected variables are significant but most importantly that the trade affinity variables are proven to have an impact on trade flows. The results also show that trade has increased and that in the case of EU membership it is more profitable to join than to remain outside. Moreovr, the result show in particular that countries that belong to the EMU have a stronger orientation of their exports to the rest of the world then other EU countries. For the latter, the European market is of prime importance.

As some of the European Union members have chosen not to convert to the EMU, further questioning have emerged on its importance for the whole union. By comparing the trade flows of those who have chosen not to convert to the EMU with members who have, this paper will hopefully bring some light on export patterns of countries being EMU members and other EU countries in comparison with world countries. Furthermore, the analysis stretches over a time period of 1982 up to 2005 which have been carefully selected in order to be able to compare trade flows of EU members in their trade with other EU members as well as with other countries for each period, where the number of EU members increases for each additional time period.

Presentation of the Problem

This paper aims to analyse what the effects have been on trade for the European countries after the establishment of the European Union. Furthermore, we wish to see if trade patterns have been affected by the introduction of EMU in the European countries. We hope to be able to draw conclusions on to what extent the European countries may have gained from the continuous integration through the European Union as well as the EMU. To be able to see these effects we have chosen to look at four time periods. Period 1 will represent 1982-1984, period 2 represents 1989-1991, period 3 corresponds to 1996-1998 and the final period 4 represents 2003-2005. These time periods were included in order to investigate how trade flows within the European Union have changed over time. Furthermore, the analysis is expected to show changes in trade flows by member countries converting to a common currency. More specifically we have chosen to look at the member states in 2005, commonly known as EU25 (See Appendix 1). Also, EU’s 72 main trading partners in the world have been chosen in order to give a better estimation of the EU members trading. For a list of all included countries in the regression see Appendix 2. The analysis of our regressions will investigate whether or not the European Union and the EMU have had a significant impact on trade patterns in Europe.

The purpose of this paper is to test how trade flows among the European countries have altered due to the expansion of the European Union. The analysis also compares how export flows differ between EU- and EMU-members.

Author: Louise Buhre and Jannice Söderström, JÖNKÖPING UNIVERSITY

Source: http://ssrn.com/abstract_id=1010629






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