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Le Système monétaire international et l'Union monétaire européenne


  • Jean-Paul Fitoussi
  • Marc Flandreau


[eng] The international monetary system and the European Monetary Union Jean-Paul Fitoussi et Marc Flandreau The 50th anniversary of the creation of the Bretton Woods system offers the opportunity to confront the recent evolutions of the European Monetary System to previous experiments. In the past, three main types of monetary arrangements have prevailed. One type is what we call « decentralized and unconstrained systems », where the sovereignty of each country over its monetary policy is complete (e.g. floating exchange rates arrangements). Another type is what we call « fully centralized systems », where monetary power is transferred to some central authority (e.g. Federal Reserve System). Finally, a hybrid case is represented by what we call « decentralized yet constrained systems » (e.g. the Bretton Woods system, or the EMS) where nations are (i) sovereign over their domestic policies, but (ii) constrained by a set of common rules (for instance, they have to take into account the policies of other nations). This paper is an attempt to provide a cost-benefit analysis of these various options. Two main conclusions emerge. First, the apparent autonomy obtained under the « decentralized and unconstrained system » is probably merely an illusion because the inherent difficulties associated with a general float of the various currencies wipe out most of the advantages associated with effective sovereignty. Second, we argue that decentralized yet unconstrained regimes (such as EMS) usually induce a deflationary bias which renders these arrangements both costly and unsustainable. This finally suggests that the fundamental dilemma of international arrangements is that there may not be any stable regime without the construction of a supra-national institution. [fre] La célébration du cinquantième anniversaire de la création du système de Bretton Woods invite à replacer les évolutions récentes du Système Monétaire Européen dans une perspective historique. Dans le passé, les arrangements monétaires internationaux ont été de trois types. A un pôle, on trouve les systèmes qu'on propose d'appeler « décentralisés sans contrainte », où la souveraineté des politiques monétaires est totale (systèmes de changes flottants). A l'autre pôle, on trouve les systèmes complètement centralisés, où chaque participant a transféré son pouvoir monétaire à une organisation centrale qui définit la politique de l'union (Federal Reserve System aux Etats-Unis). Entre les deux enfin, on trouve les systèmes « décentralisés avec contrainte » (comme par exemple le SME, ou Bretton Woods), où les politiques domestiques sont définies individuellement mais doivent prendre en compte les politiques des autres membres. Cet article se propose de faire le point sur ces options en soulignant leurs avantages et leurs inconvénients respectifs. Deux conclusions principales se dégagent. D'abord, l'autonomie que confère un système de changes flottants est probablement illusoire, car le flottement neutralise une grande partie des avantages de la souveraineté monétaire. La deuxième conclusion est que les systèmes décentralisés avec contrainte, du type SME, contiennent un biais déflationniste qui les rend coûteux et difficilement soutenables. Au confluent de ces deux problèmes se trouve le dilemme fondamental des systèmes internationaux pour lesquels il n'est pas d'équilibre stable sans construction d'une certaine forme de supranationalité.

Suggested Citation

  • Jean-Paul Fitoussi & Marc Flandreau, 1994. "Le Système monétaire international et l'Union monétaire européenne," Revue de l'OFCE, Programme National Persée, vol. 51(1), pages 167-181.
  • Handle: RePEc:prs:rvofce:ofce_0751-6614_1994_num_51_1_1382
    Note: DOI:10.3406/ofce.1994.1382

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bayoumi, Tamim & Eichengreen, Barry, 1994. "Macroeconomic Adjustment under Bretton Woods and the Post-Bretton-Woods Float: An Impulse-Response Analysis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(425), pages 813-827, July.
    2. Flandreau, Marc, 1993. "On the inflationary bias of common currencies : The Latin Union puzzle," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 501-506, April.
    3. Eichengreen, Barry, 1990. "Is Europe an Optimum Currency Area?," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt40m5g6pp, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
    4. repec:ucp:bknber:9780226065878 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Feldstein, Martin & Horioka, Charles, 1980. "Domestic Saving and International Capital Flows," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(358), pages 314-329, June.
    6. Rudiger Dornbusch & Paul Krugman, 1976. "Flexible Exchange Rates in the Short Run," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 7(3), pages 537-584.
    7. Hughes Hallett, Andrew & Vines, David, 1991. "Adjustment Difficulties within a European Monetary Union: Can They be Reduced?," CEPR Discussion Papers 517, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. Emerson, Michael & Gros, Daniel & Italianer, Alexander & ,, 1992. "One Market, One Money: An Evaluation of the Potential Benefits and Costs of Forming an Economic and Monetary Union," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198773245.
    9. Alesina, Alberto F & Grilli, Vittorio, 1993. "On the Feasibility of a One- or Multi-Speed European Monetary Union," CEPR Discussion Papers 792, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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