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Currency Unions

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Listed:
  • Alberto Alesina
  • Robert J. Barro

Abstract

Common currencies affect trading costs and, thereby, the amounts of trade, output, and consumption. From the perspective of monetary policy, the adoption of another country's currency trades off the benefits of commitment to price stability (if a committed anchor is selected) against the loss of an independent stabilization policy. We show that the type of country that has more to gain from giving up its own currency is a small open economy heavily trading with one particular large partner, with a history of high inflation and with a business cycle highly correlated with that of the potential "anchor." We also characterize the features of the optimal number of currency unions.

Suggested Citation

  • Alberto Alesina & Robert J. Barro, 2002. "Currency Unions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(2), pages 409-436.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:117:y:2002:i:2:p:409-436.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1162/003355302753650283
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Michael Spence, 1976. "Product Selection, Fixed Costs, and Monopolistic Competition," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 43(2), pages 217-235.
    2. Alberto Alesina & Enrico Spolaore, 1997. "On the Number and Size of Nations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1027-1056.
    3. Barro, Robert J. & Gordon, David B., 1983. "Rules, discretion and reputation in a model of monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 101-121.
    4. Enrico Spolaore & Alberto Alesina & Romain Wacziarg, 2000. "Economic Integration and Political Disintegration," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1276-1296, December.
    5. Hooper, Peter & Kohlhagen, Steven W., 1978. "The effect of exchange rate uncertainty on the prices and volume of international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 483-511, November.
    6. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1977. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 297-308, June.
    7. Rose, Andrew K & Engel, Charles, 2002. "Currency Unions and International Integration," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 34(4), pages 1067-1089, November.
    8. 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 311-315, May.
    9. Jeffrey Frankel & Andrew Rose, 2002. "An Estimate of the Effect of Common Currencies on Trade and Income," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(2), pages 437-466.
    10. Ethier, Wilfred J, 1982. "National and International Returns to Scale in the Modern Theory of International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 389-405, June.
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