A mais extaustiva e actualizada discussão do tema da desvalorização interna vs. desvalorização externa, um trabalho do Ifo, na encruzilhada em que os «países do ajustamento» se encontram. O ponto de partida presente:
(…) Portugal is required to make the largest real exchange rate adjustment. A 35 percent depreciation is required by Portugal to make its international investment position sustainable. Greece and Spain require 30 percent and 20 percent depreciations, respectively, while the figure for Italy is lower at around 10–15 percent. Finally, the smallest real exchange rate depreciation of around 0–5 percent is required from Ireland. At the same time, the real exchange rate of Germany should appreciate by 25 percent. The study also calculates the size of the inflation differentials implied by the depreciations/appreciations required. Assuming an average inflation rate of 2 percent in the euro area, the Goldman Sachs (2012) study concludes that inflation of around 4 percent in Germany and the rest of the core euro area countries together with zero inflation in the periphery is required for the rebalancing process to be completed in about 10 to 15 years.
Passagem às (in)consluões:
The key policy question is whether they should pursue internal or external devaluation; or whether a periphery country should remain within, or exit the euro area. The answer to this question is not clear because the preferred route of internal adjustment through inflation in the core may not be available, but deflation will result in severe distortions in company balance sheets. An external devaluation, on the other hand, may entail high contagion costs, although it improves the incentives for debtor countries not to overstretch their credit limits. In addition, it also requires the redenomination of assets, liabilities and contracts prior to exit, which is likely to cause severe disruption in the short run.
Given that, for the time being, policy-makers have decided to exclude the exit option, the emphasis of economic policy must be on seeking possibilities for internal devaluations. As we showed, a fiscal devaluation by replacing direct with indirect taxes would be a possibility worth considering.
Since the beginning of the crisis, the countries of the periphery have all been undergoing adjustment, albeit to varying degrees. Whereas the Irish adjustment went a long way and Spain has made some progress in terms of productivity increases, the Portuguese, and particularly the Greek adjustments seem to be slow, to say the least. Against this background, the competitiveness crisis currently impacting some of the euro area countries looks set to continue for quite sometime to come.
Um bonus a não perder: as lições da história constitucional norte-americana na consideração do projecto de federalismo orçamental europeu. Um trabalho fascinante de história.