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On the welfare benefits of an international currency

  • Kannan, Prakash

Is it beneficial for a country's currency to be used internationally? And, if so, can we quantify the benefit? Since the emergence of the euro, there has been great interest in the consequences of a transfer of the dollar's premier international role to the euro. This paper presents a novel model-based approach towards assessing the welfare benefits associated with the international use of a country's currency. Apart from the familiar benefits associated with seigniorage, residents of the issuing country experience an increase in the purchasing power of their currency both at home and abroad. In the calibration exercise carried out in this paper, we find the benefits of an international currency to be quantitatively significant. The welfare gain for the Euro area in having the euro internationally used ranges from 1.9% to 2.3% of consumption depending on relative inflation rates. The rest of the world is not indifferent as to which currency circulates as the dominant international currency. Conditional on their currency not being used internationally, their preference is for the dominant international currency to be the one with the lowest inflation rate.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 53 (2009)
Issue (Month): 5 (July)
Pages: 588-606

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Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:53:y:2009:i:5:p:588-606
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