European Monetary Unification: A Tour d'Horizon
This article takes stock of the literature and debate over European monetary unification. In contrast to other papers, where it is argued that the issues and prospects remain shrouded in uncertainty, I argue that in a number of important areas, a reasonable degree of consensus now exists, as the result of a decade of scholarship. The subsequent stock-taking concentrates on areas where significant questions remain, starting with the implications of surrendering the exchange rate and an independent national monetary policy as instruments of adjustment; the conduct of fiscal policy under the Excessive Deficit Procedure and the Stability Pact; and how quickly the European union is likely to develop an EU-wide system of fiscal federalism to accompany its monetary union. Turning from fiscal to monetary issues, I ask whether the European Central Bank (ECB) will be as inflation averse as the Bundesbank, what exchange-rate policy the ECB will pursue, and whether the euro will be a leading reserve currency. I conclude with what may be the most contentious issue of all, namely whether Europe's monetary union could collapse after it begins. Copyright 1998 by Oxford University Press.
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