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It Can't Happen, It's a Bad Idea, It Won't Last: U.S. Economists on the EMU and the Euro, 1989–2002

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  • Lars Jonung
  • Eoin Drea

Abstract

On the whole, the euro has, thus far, gone much better than many U.S. economists had predicted. We survey how U.S. economists viewed European monetary unification from the publication of the Delors Report in 1989 to the introduction of euro notes and coins in January 2002. U.S. academic economists concentrated on whether a single currency was a good or bad thing, usually using the theory of optimum currency areas, and most were skeptical towards the single currency. In contrast, Federal Reserve economists had a less analytical and a more pragmatic approach. Both groups adjusted their views as European monetary unification progressed. It is surprising that academic economists, living in and benefiting from the U.S. monetary union, were so skeptical of monetary unification in Europe. We explain the skepticism as resulting from the strong influence of the original theory of optimum currency areas; failure to see monetary unification as an evolutionary process; failure to identify pegged exchange rates, rather than floating rates, as the practical alternative to a single European currency; and the belief that the single currency for Europe was primarily a political project that ignored economic fundamentals.

Suggested Citation

  • Lars Jonung & Eoin Drea, 2010. "It Can't Happen, It's a Bad Idea, It Won't Last: U.S. Economists on the EMU and the Euro, 1989–2002," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 7(1), pages 1-4–52, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:ejw:journl:v:7:y:2010:i:1:p:4-52
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    Cited by:

    1. Michael D. Bordo & Lars Jonung & Agnieszka Markiewicz, 2013. "A Fiscal Union for the Euro: Some Lessons from History ," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 59(3), pages 449-488, September.
    2. repec:kap:iaecre:v:19:y:2013:i:3:p:259-271 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. André Sapir, 2011. "European Integration at the Crossroads: A Review Essay on the 50th Anniversary of Bela Balassa's Theory of Economic Integration," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(4), pages 1200-1229, December.
    4. Filippo Cesarano, 2013. "The Optimum Currency Area Puzzle," International Advances in Economic Research, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 19(3), pages 259-271, August.
    5. Joshua Aizenman, 2016. "Optimal Currency Area: A 20th Century Idea For the 21st Century?," NBER Working Papers 22097, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Alberto Bagnai, 2013. "Unhappy families are all alike: Minskyan cycles, Kaldorian growth, and the Eurozone peripheral crises," a/ Working Papers Series 1301, Italian Association for the Study of Economic Asymmetries, Rome (Italy).
    7. Mario Sarcinelli, 2013. "L'unione bancaria europea e la stabilizzazione dell'Eurozona," Moneta e Credito, Economia civile, vol. 66(261), pages 7-42.
    8. Fritz W. Scharpf, 2011. "Monetary Union, Fiscal Crisis and the Preemption of Democracy," LEQS – LSE 'Europe in Question' Discussion Paper Series 36, European Institute, LSE.
    9. Pomfret, Richard, 2014. "European crises and the Asian economies," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31, pages 71-81.
    10. Nothando Moyo, 2014. "Fundamental Flaws in the Architecture of the European Central Bank: The Possible End of the Euro Zone and its Effects to East African Community (EAC) Countries," Eurasian Journal of Economics and Finance, Eurasian Publications, vol. 2(2), pages 21-33.
    11. Fritz W. Scharpf, 2011. "Monetary Union, Fiscal Crisis and the Preemption of Democracy," Europe in Question Discussion Paper Series of the London School of Economics (LEQs) 6, London School of Economics / European Institute.
    12. Scharpf, Fritz W., 2011. "Monetary union, fiscal crisis and the preemption of democracy," MPIfG Discussion Paper 11/11, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Euro; optimum currency area; European Central Bank (ECB); Economic and Monetary Union (EMU); Federal Reserve System; monetary unification; Europe; United States;

    JEL classification:

    • B22 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Macroeconomics
    • E42 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Monetary Sytsems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System
    • E5 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit
    • F02 - International Economics - - General - - - International Economic Order and Integration
    • F33 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Monetary Arrangements and Institutions
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics

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