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Estimating the costs and benefits of EMU: The impact of external shocks on labour markets


  • Ansgar Belke
  • Daniel Gros


Discussions of the economic costs and benefits of EMU usually take as their basis the optimum currency area (OCA) approach. This approach starts from the premise that when an external shock hits the economy, it is easier to adjust the exchange rate than domestic prices or wages. Most economists accept the general idea behind this approach, namely that nominal wages are usually sticky in the shortrun and that it is therefore easier to adjust to external shocks and obtain changes in the real exchange rate or the terms of trade through a movement in the exchange rate. But there is little agreement on how important these "external" shocks are in reality. We try to measure the importance of external shocks for (un)employment. We find that external shocks have little impact on unemployment, but are more important in the evolution of employment in manufacturing. The results differ, however, strongly from country to country and for about half of EU member countries we did not find any significant relationship. Taking into account various potential shock absorbers (exchange rate movements, fiscal and monetary policy) does not affect the results. We conclude that the loss of the exchange rate instrument will not lead to massive unemployment problems.
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  • Ansgar Belke & Daniel Gros, 1999. "Estimating the costs and benefits of EMU: The impact of external shocks on labour markets," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 135(1), pages 1-47, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:weltar:v:135:y:1999:i:1:p:1-47
    DOI: 10.1007/BF02708157

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Grubel, Herbert, 2005. "Small country benefits from monetary union," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 509-523, June.
    2. repec:onb:oenbwp:y::i:129:b:1 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. BELKE Ansgar & SETZER Ralph, "undated". "The Costs of Exchange Rate Volatility for Labor Markets: Some Empirical Evidence from the CEE Economies," EcoMod2003 330700012, EcoMod.
    4. Belke, Ansgar H. & Gros, Daniel, 2007. "Instability of the Eurozone? On Monetary Policy, House Prices and Labor Market Reforms," IZA Discussion Papers 2547, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Belke, Ansgar & Osowski, Thomas, 2016. "Measuring fiscal spillovers in EMU and beyond: A global VAR approach," Ruhr Economic Papers 661, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    6. Ansgar Belke & Martin Hebler, 2002. "Towards a European Social Union: Impacts on Labor Markets in the Acceding Countries," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 313-335, December.
    7. Döpke, Jörg, 2001. "The "Employment Intensity" of Growth in Europe," Kiel Working Papers 1021, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    8. Beckmann, Rainer & Eppendorfer, Carsten & Neimke, Markus, 2002. "Deepening European Financial Integration: Theoretical Considerations and Empirical Evaluation of Growth and Employment Benefits," MPRA Paper 5272, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Grubel, Herbert G., 2000. "The merit of a Canada-US monetary union," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 19-40, August.
    10. Ansgar Belke & Bernhard Herz & Lukas Vogel, 2007. "Reforms, Exchange Rates and Monetary Commitment: A Panel Analysis for OECD Countries," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 369-388, July.
    11. Ansgar Belke & Bernhard Herz & Lukas Vogel, 2006. "Beyond Trade – Is Reform Effort Affected by the Exchange Rate Regime? A Panel Analysis for the World versus OECD Countries," Economie Internationale, CEPII research center, issue 107, pages 29-58.
    12. Beckmann, Rainer & Eppendorfer, Carsten & Neimke, Markus, 2002. "Financial integration within the European Union: Towards a single market for insurance," MPRA Paper 5280, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    E24; E52; F41;

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics


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