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Self-Validating Optimum Currency Areas

  • Corsetti, Giancarlo
  • Pesenti, Paolo

In this Paper we show that a currency area can be a self-validating optimal policy regime, even when monetary unification does not foster real economic integration and intra-industry trade. This is because profit-maximizing producers in a currency area adopt endogenous pricing strategies that make exchange rate fluctuations highly costly in welfare terms. In our model exporters choose the degree of exchange rate pass-through onto export prices given monetary policy rules, and monetary authorities choose optimal policy rules taking firms' pass-through as given. We show that there exist two equilibria, which define two self-validating currency regimes. In the first, firms preset prices in domestic currency only, and let foreign-currency prices to be determined by the law of one price. Optimal policy rules then target the domestic output gap and floating exchange rates support the flex-price allocation. In the second equilibrium firms optimally preset prices in local currency, and a monetary union is the optimal policy choice for all countries. Although business cycles are more synchronized with a common currency, flexible exchange rates are superior in terms of welfare.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 3220.

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Date of creation: Feb 2002
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3220
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  1. Michael B. Devereux & Charles Engel, 2003. "Monetary Policy in the Open Economy Revisited: Price Setting and Exchange-Rate Flexibility," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(4), pages 765-783, October.
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  19. Dowd, Kevin & Greenaway, David, 1993. "Currency Competition, Network Externalities and Switching Costs: Towards an Alternative View of Optimum Currency Areas," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(420), pages 1180-89, September.
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