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Emerging Currency Blocs

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  • Jeffrey A. Frankel
  • Shang-Jin Wei

Abstract

Using the gravity model to examine bilateral trade patterns throughout the world. we find clear evidence of trading blocs in Europe. the Western Hemisphere, East Asia and the Pacific. In Europe, it is the EC that operates as a bloc, not including EFTA. Two EC members trade an extra 55 per cent more with each other. beyond what can be explained by proximity, size. and GNP/capita. We also find slight evidence of trade-diversion in 1990. Even though the blocs fall along natural geographic lines. they may actually be "super-natural." Turning to the possibility of currency blocs, we find a degree of intra-regional stabilization of exchange rates, especially in Europe. Not surprisingly. the European currencies link to the OM. and Western Hemisphere countries peg to the dollar. East Asian countries, however, link to the dollar. not the yen. We also find some tentative cross-section evidence that bilateral exchange rate stability may have a (small) effect on trade. A sample calculation suggests that if real exchange rate variability within Europe were to double, as it would if it returned from the 1990 level to the 1980 level, the volume of intra-regional trade might fall by an estimated 0.7 per cent.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4335.

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Date of creation: Apr 1993
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Publication status: published as The Future of the Internationals Monetary System and its Institutions, Genberg, Hans, ed., Geneva, 1994.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4335

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  1. Helpman, Elhanan, 1987. "Imperfect competition and international trade: Evidence from fourteen industrial countries," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 62-81, March.
  2. Jeffrey A. Frankel & Shang-Jin Wei, 1992. "Yen bloc or dollar bloc: exchange rate policies of the East Asian economies," Pacific Basin Working Paper Series 93-01, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  3. Jeffrey A. Frankel., 1993. "Is Japan Creating a Yen Bloc in East Asia and the Pacific?," Center for International and Development Economics Research (CIDER) Working Papers C93-007, University of California at Berkeley.
  4. Paul De Grauwe, 1988. "Exchange Rate Variability and the Slowdown in Growth of International Trade," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 35(1), pages 63-84, March.
  5. Deardorff, Alan V., 1984. "Testing trade theories and predicting trade flows," Handbook of International Economics, in: R. W. Jones & P. B. Kenen (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 10, pages 467-517 Elsevier.
  6. Richard K. Abrams, 1980. "International trade flows under flexible exchange rates," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Mar, pages 3-10.
  7. Eichengreen, Barry, 1990. "One Money for Europe? Lessons from the US Currency Union," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt6ks1k831, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  8. Tamim Bayoumi and Barry Eichengreen., 1993. "One Money or Many? On Analyzing the Prospects for Monetary Unification in Various Parts of the World," Center for International and Development Economics Research (CIDER) Working Papers C93-030, University of California at Berkeley.
  9. Hamilton, C.B. & Winters, L.A., 1992. "Opening Up International Trade in Eastern Europe," Papers 511, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  10. Paul Krugman, 1989. "Is Bilateralism Bad?," NBER Working Papers 2972, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Gagnon, Joseph E., 1993. "Exchange rate variability and the level of international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3-4), pages 269-287, May.
  12. Gabriel Sterne & Tamim Bayoumi, 1993. "Regional Trading Blocs, Mobile Capital and Exchange Rate Co-ordination," Bank of England working papers 12, Bank of England.
  13. Kenen, Peter B & Rodrik, Dani, 1986. "Measuring and Analyzing the Effects of Short-term Volatility in Real Exchange Rates," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 68(2), pages 311-15, May.
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