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The Estimated Trade Effects of the Euro: Why Are They Below Those From Historical Monetary Unions Among Smaller Countries?

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  • Jeffrey Frankel

Abstract

Andy Rose (2000), followed by many others, has used the gravity model of bilateral trade on a large data set to estimate the trade effects of monetary unions among small countries. The finding has been large estimates: Trade among members seems to double or triple, that is, to increase by 100-200%. After the advent of EMU in 1999, Micco, Ordoñez and Stein and others used the gravity model on a much smaller data set to estimate the effects of the euro on trade among its members. The estimates tend to be statistically significant, but far smaller in magnitude: on the order of 10-20% during the first four years. What explains the discrepancy? This paper seeks to address two questions. First, do the effects on intra-euroland trade that were estimated in the euro’s first four years hold up in the second four years? The answer is yes. Second, and more complicated, what is the reason for the big discrepancy vis-à-vis other currency unions? We investigate three prominent possible explanations for the gap between 15% and 200%. First, lags. The euro is still very young. Second, size. The European countries are much bigger on average than most of those who had formed currency unions in the past. Third, endogeneity of the decision to adopt an institutional currency link. Perhaps the high correlations estimated in earlier studies were spurious, an artefact of reverse causality. Contrary to expectations, we find no evidence that any of these factors explains a substantial share of the gap, let alone all of it.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by London School of Economics / European Institute in its series Europe in Question Discussion Paper Series of the London School of Economics (LEQs) with number 7.

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Date of creation: 03 Jun 2009
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Handle: RePEc:erp:leqsxx:p0007

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Web page: http://www2.lse.ac.uk/europeanInstitute

Related research

Keywords: federalism; trade policy; EMU; EMU;

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  1. Volker Nitsch, 2000. "National borders and international trade: evidence from the European Union," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1091-1105, November.
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  3. Jeffrey A. Frankel & Shang-Jin Wei, 1998. "Regionalization of World Trade and Currencies: Economics and Politics," NBER Chapters, in: The Regionalization of the World Economy, pages 189-226 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Sergio Nardis, 2004. "Currency unions and trade: The special case of EMU," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 140(3), pages 625-649, September.
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  18. Fidrmuc, Jan & Horvath, Julius & Fidrmuc, Jarko, 1999. "The Stability of Monetary Unions: Lessons from the Breakup of Czechoslovakia," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 753-781, December.
  19. Maurice J.G. Bun & Franc J.G.M. Klaassen, 2002. "Has the Euro increased Trade?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 02-108/2, Tinbergen Institute.
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