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Participation in a Currency Union

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  • Alessandra Casella

Abstract

When countries of different sizes participate in a cooperative agreement, the potential gain from deviation determines the minimum power that each country requires in the common decision-making. This paper studies the problem in the context of a monetary union - multiple countries sharing a common currency - whose very existence requires coordination of monetary policies. In the presence of externalities in the decentralized equilibrium with national currencies, it is shown that a small economy will in general require, and obtain, more than proportional power in the agreement. With a common currency, this is equivalent to a transfer of seignorage revenues in its favor. With national currencies such transfer would not obtain, and the small country would be even more demanding. Without additional unconstrained fiscal instruments it would be impossible to sustain coordination with fixed exchange rates. When the number of potential countries in the union is large, it is not generally possible to prevent deviations from individual countries or from coalitions. The currency union might emerge as a mixed strategy equilibrium, but the probability of deviation rises sharply with the number of countries and of possible coalitions.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3220.

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Date of creation: Jan 1990
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Publication status: published as American Economic Review, Sept 1992
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3220

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  1. Bernheim, B. Douglas & Peleg, Bezalel & Whinston, Michael D., 1987. "Coalition-Proof Nash Equilibria I. Concepts," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 1-12, June.
  2. Bernheim, B. Douglas & Whinston, Michael D., 1987. "Coalition-Proof Nash Equilibria II. Applications," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 13-29, June.
  3. Casella, Alessandra & Feinstein, Jonathan, 1988. "Management of a Common Currency," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt5jv1h7nt, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  4. Aizenman, Joshua, 1992. "Competitive Externalities and the Optimal Seigniorage," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 24(1), pages 61-71, February.
  5. Cohen, Daniel & Wyplosz, Charles, 1989. "The European Monetary Union: An Agnostic Evaluation," CEPR Discussion Papers 306, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Helpman, Elhanan, 1981. "An Exploration in the Theory of Exchange-Rate Regimes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 865-90, October.
  7. Kareken, John & Wallace, Neil, 1981. "On the Indeterminacy of Equilibrium Exchange Rates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 96(2), pages 207-22, May.
  8. Canzoneri, M. & Rogers, C., 1989. "Is the European Community an Optimal Currency Area? : Optimal Tax Smoothing versus the Cost of Multiple Currencies," Discussion Paper 1989-23, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  9. Willem H. Buiter & Jonathan Eaton, 1983. "International Balance of Payments Financing and Adjustment," NBER Working Papers 1120, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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