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Giving Up the Swiss Franc:Some Considerations on Seigniorage Flows under EMU

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  • Andreas M. Fischer
  • Thomas J. Jordan
  • Caesar P. Lack

Abstract

The monetary debate in Switzerland about joining the European Monetary Union (EMU) has primarily focused on the gains in terms of transaction costs and lower uncertainty from using a common currency versus the sacrifice of giving up an independent monetary policy. This paper considers an additional factor in this debate, namely the decrease of seigniorage for Switzerland in the case of joining EMU. Our calculations reveal that this loss of revenues is not trivial. Swiss currency holdings per capita are among the largest in the world. They are estimated to be 5'000 Swiss francs per capita in 2002. If Switzerland joined EMU at that time, about half of the seigniorage stemming from the previous Swiss franc currency circulation would be redistributed among the EMU member countries in the worst case. Our results indicate that Switzerland would be the third largest contributor of seigniorage in absolute terms after Germany and Spain. In relative terms, the Swiss per capita contribution would be more than four times as high as the German contribution.

Suggested Citation

  • Andreas M. Fischer & Thomas J. Jordan & Caesar P. Lack, 2002. "Giving Up the Swiss Franc:Some Considerations on Seigniorage Flows under EMU," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 138(I), pages 61-82, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:ses:arsjes:2002-i-4
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Sinn, Hans-Werner & Feist, Holger, 1997. "Eurowinners and Eurolosers: The distribution of seigniorage wealth in EMU1," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 665-689, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sandrine Levasseur, 2004. "Why not euroisation?," Revue de l'OFCE, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 91(5), pages 121-156.
    2. Attila Csajbók (ed.) & Ágnes Csermely (ed.), 2002. "Adopting the euro in Hungary: expected costs, benefits and timing," MNB Occasional Papers 2002/24, Magyar Nemzeti Bank (Central Bank of Hungary).
    3. Beat Spirig & Rolf Weder, 2008. "To Wait or Not to Wait: Swiss EU-Membership as an Investment under Uncertainty," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 144(I), pages 85-114, March.
    4. Spirig, Beat & Weder, Rolf, 2004. "To Wait or Not to Wait: Swiss EU-Membership as an Investment under Uncertainty," Working papers 2004/10, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Seigniorage; Swiss National Bank; the euro;

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • H22 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Incidence

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