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Monetary Union and European Unemployment


  • Jimeno, Juan F
  • Viñals, José


In this paper we analyse the likely effects of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) on European unemployment. We start by describing the current unemployment situation in the European Union (EU). In so doing, we try to assess the relative importance of European, national and regional shocks in driving national and regional unemployment rates, and also to estimate the degree of real wage rigidity across EU countries. We then discuss various factors which, in principle, may contribute towards explaining the high and persistent EU unemployment rates, focusing on several labour market institutions like collective bargaining, job security legislation and unemployment benefits. The final part of the paper analyses, in light of the above evidence, the likely impact of EMU on European unemployment in the short and medium term. We conclude that while the presently high European unemployment rates should not preclude EMU from being established, the operation of the monetary union will be smoother and its net economic benefits larger if Member countries succeed in implementing those structural labour market reforms which are needed for unemployment to go to lower, more reasonable rates.

Suggested Citation

  • Jimeno, Juan F & Viñals, José, 1996. "Monetary Union and European Unemployment," CEPR Discussion Papers 1485, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:1485

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    1. Clark, Todd E. & van Wincoop, Eric, 2001. "Borders and business cycles," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 59-85, October.
    2. Costa-i-Font, Joan, 2010. "Regional single currency effects on bilateral trade with the European Union," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 53292, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    3. Forni, Mario & Reichlin, Lucrezia, 2001. "Federal policies and local economies: Europe and the US," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 109-134, January.
    4. Norbert Berthold & Rainer Fehn, 2002. "Arbeitsmarktpolitik in der Europäischen Währungsunion," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 3(3), pages 317-345, August.
    5. Francesco Paolo Mongelli, 2005. "What is European Economic and Monetary Union Telling us About the Properties of Optimum Currency Areas?," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(3), pages 607-635, September.
    6. Berthold, Norbert & Fehn, Rainer, 2002. "Struktureller Wandel, new economy und Beschäftigungsentwicklung: welche Rolle spielen die institutionellen Rahmenbedingungen auf dem Kapitalmarkt?," Discussion Paper Series 53, Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg, Chair of Economic Order and Social Policy.
    7. Mª del Carmen Díaz Roldán, 1998. "La coordinacion internacional de la politica monetaria en presencia de perturbaciones simetricas: ¿Resulta beneficioso cooperar?," Documentos de Trabajo - Lan Gaiak Departamento de Economía - Universidad Pública de Navarra 9808, Departamento de Economía - Universidad Pública de Navarra.
    8. Constantinos Alexiou, 2011. "“When the Bough Breaks” Making Sense of the Greek Economic ‘Waterloo’," International Journal of Economics and Financial Issues, Econjournals, vol. 1(3), pages 123-132, September.
    9. Mäki, Tuomo & Virén, Matti, 1998. "Fiscal Policy Coordination in OECD Countries," Discussion Papers 160, VATT Institute for Economic Research.
    10. Gwen Eudey, 1998. "Why is Europe forming a monetary union?," Business Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, issue Nov, pages 13-21.
    11. Sibert, Anne & Sutherland, Alan, 2000. "Monetary union and labor market reform," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 421-435, August.
    12. Dohse, Dirk & Krieger-Boden, Christiane & Siebert, Horst, 1998. "Währungsunion und Arbeitsmarkt: Auftakt zu unabdingbaren Reformen," Open Access Publications from Kiel Institute for the World Economy 997, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    13. Joan Costa-i-Font, 2010. "Regional Single Currency Effects on Bilateral Trade with the European Union," LEQS – LSE 'Europe in Question' Discussion Paper Series 26, European Institute, LSE.
    14. Castillo, Sonsoles & Dolado, Juan José & Jimeno, Juan F., 1998. "A tale of two neighbour economies: labour market dynamics in Portugal and Spain," UC3M Working papers. Economics 4154, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía.
    15. Joan Costa-i-Font & Ramon Tremosa-i-Balcells, "undated". "Spanish Regions and the Macroeconomic Benefits of European Monetary Union (EMU)," Studies on the Spanish Economy 89, FEDEA.
    16. Coppel, Jonathan & Durand, Martine & Visco, Ignazio, 2000. "The European Monetary Union, the euro, and the European policy mix," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 31-63.
    17. Michel Beine & Bertrand Candelon & Alain Hecq, 2000. "Assessing a Perfect European Optimum Currency Area: A Common Cycles Approach," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 27(2), pages 115-132, June.
    18. Joan Costa-i-Font, 2010. "Regional Single Currency Effects on Bilateral Trade with the European Union," Europe in Question Discussion Paper Series of the London School of Economics (LEQs) 6, London School of Economics / European Institute.
    19. Elías Albagli & Pablo García & Jorge Restrepo, 2004. "Labor Market Rigidity and Structural Shocks: An Open-Economy Approach for International Comparisons," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 263, Central Bank of Chile.
    20. Berthold, Norbert & Fehn, Rainer, 2000. "Arbeitsmarktpolitik in der Europäischen Währungsunion," Discussion Paper Series 38, Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg, Chair of Economic Order and Social Policy.
    21. Norbert Berthold & Rainer Fehn & Eric Thode, 1999. "Real wage rigidities, accommodative demand policies, and the functioning of EMU," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 135(4), pages 545-572, December.

    More about this item


    Labour Market Institutions; Monetary Union; Structural Reforms; Unemployment;

    JEL classification:

    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E61 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination
    • F33 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Monetary Arrangements and Institutions
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search


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