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Optimal Currency Areas: Why Does The Exchange Rate Regime Matter?

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  • Buiter, Willem H.

Abstract

Microeconomic efficiency and market transparency argue in favour of UK membership in EMU and for Scotland's membership in the UK monetary union and also in EMU. UK seigniorage (government revenues from money issuance) would be boosted by EMU membership. Lender of last resort arrangements would not be substantially affected by UK membership in EMU. The UK is too small and too open to be an optimal currency area. The same point applies even more emphatically to Scotland. The 'one-size-fits-all' , 'asymmetric shocks' and 'cyclical divergence' objections to UK membership are based on the misapprehension that independent national monetary policy, and the associated nominal exchange rate flexibility, can be used effectively to offset or even neutralise asymmetric shocks. This 'fine tuning delusion' is compounded by a failure to understand that, under a high degree of international financial integration, market-determined exchange rates are primarily a source of shocks and instability. Instead, opponents of UK membership in EMU view exchange rate flexibility as an effective buffer for adjusting to asymmetric shocks originating elsewhere. I know of no evidence that supports such an optimistic reading of what exchange rate flexibility can deliver under conditions of very high international financial capital mobility. The economic arguments for immediate UK membership in EMU, at an appropriate entry rate, are overwhelming. Monetary union raises important constitutional and political issues. It involves a further surrender of national sovereignty to a supranational institution, the ECB/ESCB. It is essential that this transfer of national sovereignty be perceived as legitimate by those affected by it. In addition, the citizens of the UK have become accustomed to a high standard of openness and accountability of their central bank since it gained operational independence in 1997. The ECB/ESCB must be held to the same high standard, and, while there are grounds for optimism, there still is some way to go there.

Suggested Citation

  • Buiter, Willem H., 2000. "Optimal Currency Areas: Why Does The Exchange Rate Regime Matter?," CEPR Discussion Papers 2366, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:2366
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    Cited by:

    1. Michael Artis, 2008. "What do we now know about currency unions?," Macroeconomics and Finance in Emerging Market Economies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(1), pages 13-29.
    2. Felipe G. Morandé & Matías Tapia, 2002. "Exchange Rate Policy in Chile: From the Band to Floating and Beyond," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 152, Central Bank of Chile.
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    4. Salvador Barrios & Marius Br¸lhart & Robert J.R. Elliott & Marianne Sensier, 2003. "A Tale of Two Cycles: Co-Fluctuations Between UK Regions and the Euro Zone," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 71(3), pages 265-292, June.
    5. Perkins, J.O.N., 2000. "Some Current Issues of Interational Monetary Policy," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 758, The University of Melbourne.
    6. M.J. Artis, 2003. "Reflections on the optimal currency area (OCA) criteria in the light of EMU," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(4), pages 297-307.
    7. Balogun, Emmanuel Dele, 2009. "Inflation differential in the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) area:Implications for unionization," MPRA Paper 13045, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Volker Clausen & Bernd Hayo, 2002. "Makroökonomische Implikationen der Mitgliedschaft Deutschlands in der Europäischen Währungsunion," Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 71(3), pages 339-353.
    9. Annika Alexius & Erik Post, 2008. "Exchange rates and asymmetric shocks in small open economies," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 35(3), pages 527-541, November.
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    11. Balogun, Emmanuel Dele, 2008. "An alternative reconsideration of macroeconomic convergence criteria for West African Monetary Zone," MPRA Paper 11367, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Hall, S.G. & Yhap, B., 2008. "Measuring the Correlation of Shocks Between the UK and the Core of Europe," Journal for Economic Forecasting, Institute for Economic Forecasting, vol. 5(1), pages 17-26, March.
    13. Glenn Otto & Graham Voss & Luke Willard, 2001. "Understanding OECD Output Correlations," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp2001-05, Reserve Bank of Australia.
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    16. Monika Blaszkiewicz-Schwartzman, 2007. "Explaining Exchange Rate Movements in New Member States of the European Union: Nominal and Real Convergence," Money Macro and Finance (MMF) Research Group Conference 2006 144, Money Macro and Finance Research Group.
    17. Cindy Moons, 2013. "Losses from Membership in EMU: An Estimated Two-Country DSGE Model," Applied Economics Quarterly (formerly: Konjunkturpolitik), Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 59(1), pages 27-61.
    18. B. Gabriela Mundaca & Jon Strand, 2005. "A risk allocation approach to optimal exchange rate policy," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(3), pages 398-421, July.
    19. Iulia Siedschlag & Gabriele Tondl, 2011. "Regional output growth synchronisation with the Euro Area," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 38(2), pages 203-221, May.
    20. Balogun, Emmanuel Dele, 2009. "Alternative reconsideration of output growth differrential for the West African Monetary Zone," MPRA Paper 13416, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    21. Fidrmuc, Jarko & Korhonen, Iikka, 2004. "A meta-analysis of business cycle correlation between the euro area and CEECs : What do we know - and who cares?," BOFIT Discussion Papers 20/2004, Bank of Finland, Institute for Economies in Transition.
    22. Salá Rios, Mercé & Farré Perdiguer, Mariona & Torres Solé, Teresa, 2011. "El ciclo económico de Cataluña. Un análisis de la simetría respecto a España y a la UEM/Catalonia's Business Cycle. An Analysis of the Symmetry in Relation to Spain and the EMU," Estudios de Economía Aplicada, Estudios de Economía Aplicada, vol. 29, pages 913(24á.)-9, Diciembre.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Asymmetric Shocks; European Economic and Monetary Union; National Sovereignty;

    JEL classification:

    • F31 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Exchange
    • F33 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Monetary Arrangements and Institutions
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics
    • F42 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - International Policy Coordination and Transmission

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