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A Suggested Reformulation of the Theory of Optimal Currency Areas

  • Melitz, Jacques

In contrast to conventional analyses of monetary union between two particular countries or sets of countries, this paper treats the possible expansion of a given currency area as a continuous variable ranging from zero to one; zero if there is no expansion and one if all sources of imports and competition in trade are included in the union. The optimal order in which new members are admitted to the union then becomes one aspect of the problem. It is shown that by using this approach, it is easier to defend the argument that many nations are too small to form optimal currency areas. The demands upon the origin of the shocks, factor mobility, and political organization are smaller. The approach also fits better with the evidence.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 590.

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Date of creation: Oct 1991
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:590
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  1. Xavier Sala-i-Martin & Jeffrey Sachs, 1991. "Fiscal Federalism and Optimum Currency Areas: Evidence for Europe From the United States," NBER Working Papers 3855, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Barry Eichengreen., 1990. "Is Europe an Optimum Currency Area?," Economics Working Papers 90-151, University of California at Berkeley.
  3. Bayoumi, Tamim & Masson, Paul R, 1994. "Fiscal Flows in the United States and Canada: Lessons for Monetary Union in Europe," CEPR Discussion Papers 1057, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Robert E. Hall, 1970. "Why Is the Unemployment Rate So High at Full Employment?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 1(3), pages 369-410.
  5. Hochreiter, Eduard & Winckler, Georg, 1995. "The advantages of tying Austria's hands: The success of the hard currency strategy," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 83-111, March.
  6. Paul R. Masson & Mark P. Taylor, 1993. "Fiscal Policy within Common Currency Areas," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(1), pages 29-44, 03.
  7. Vaubel, Roland, 1978. "Real exchange-rate changes in the European community : A new approach to the determination of optimum currency areas," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 319-339, May.
  8. Fleming, J Marcus, 1971. "On Exchange Rate Unification," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 81(323), pages 467-88, September.
  9. Paul DE GRAUWE & Hilde Heens, 1993. "Real Exchange Rate Variability in Monetary Unions," Discussion Papers (REL - Recherches Economiques de Louvain) 1993015, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  10. Robinson, W & Webb, T R & Townsend, M A, 1979. "The Influence of Exchange Rate Changes on Prices: A Study of 18 Industrial Countries," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 46(181), pages 27-50, February.
  11. Thomas Willett & Edward Tower, 1970. "Currency areas and exchange-rate flexibility," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 105(1), pages 48-65, September.
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