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The Feldstein –Horioka Puzzle and structural breaks: evidence from EU members.

Ketenci, Natalya (2010): The Feldstein –Horioka Puzzle and structural breaks: evidence from EU members.


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The purpose of this paper is to investigate the level of capital mobility in European Union members using the Feldstein-Horioka puzzle proposed by Feldstein and Horioka (1980) in order to investigate relations between saving and investment flows. In this paper, data for 27 European countries were used over the period of 1995-2009 on the quarterly basis. Data were extracted from the official statistical site of the European Union, Eurostat. Firstly, unit root tests were applied to the series in order to estimate the stationarity of the model variables. Two different tests were used, which are the Ng and Perron (2001) unit root test procedure and approach proposed by Zivot and Andrews (1992) for unit root test allowing for a structural shift. Then the Bai and Perron (1998) structural break test was applied to determine the presence of structural breaks in series. In most countries except Belgium and Finland UDmax and WD max tests rejected the hypothesis of no breaks. Moreover, structural break locations for every series were selected by sequentially procedure, BIC and LWZ. Finally, the cointegration relationships between investment and saving flows of European Union members were tested. Three different cointegration techniques were applied to the data. Firstly, the Johansen (1988) cointegration approach was used for the case of no cointegration shifts, then the Gregory and Hansen (1996) cointegration test was applied, which allows for one structural shift. Finally, again the Johansen’ cointegration approach was used; however, this time with the inclusion of dummy variables related to earlier selected structural break locations.

The empirical results provided stronger evidence of cointegration between investment and saving variables in the case of structural break accommodation compared to the case where the presence of structural breaks was ignored. In most cases of estimations saving-investment correlation has a tendency to increase with regime changes. However, the estimated saving retention coefficient in the presence of structural breaks using the Bai and Perron (1998) approach appeared relatively low in many cases, illustrating by this the openness of estimated countries. In general, world and European countries with time have a tendency to a higher level of their capital market openness. According to Feldstein and Horioka (1980), a higher saving-investment correlation is related to lower capital mobility. Therefore, the contradicting results between saving retention coefficient estimates and cointegration tests illustrate that cointegration indicates a rather current account solvency condition than capital mobility. Estimations of a saving retention coefficient in the presence of structural changes do not support the existence of the Feldstein-Horioka Puzzle in the considered EU countries.

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