Trade Patterns in Europe : An assessment of EU and EMU memberships
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. Moreover, the result show in par-ticular 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.
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