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To be or not to be in the euro? Benefits and costs of monetary unification as perceived by voters in the Swedish euro referendum 2003

The Swedish referendum in September 2003 on adopting the euro or keeping the domestic currency, the krona, represents a unique event to examine the public's perceptions of the benefits and costs of monetary unification. The voters chose between the two polar cases of exchange rate regimes: either a freely floating exchange rate or membership in a monetary union. Three major conclusions emerge from the analysis of the exit poll surveys gathered on the day of the referendum. First, the optimum currency area theory proves to be a constructive framework to predict voting behaviour across socio-economic groups and regions in Sweden, assuming voters behave in their self-interest. Second, the distribution of the expected benefits and costs across groups was a major determinant of their voting behaviour. As predicted by theory, the Yes-vote was strongest among voters employed in the tradable sector, in high growth regions as well as among high-income earners and well educated. The No-vote was strongest among voters employed in the non-tradable sector, in particular in the public sector, and among low-income earners, the unemployed and the less educated - in short, among groups dependent on public-sector transfers to maintain their living standards in the event of adverse economic shocks. Third, political attitudes towards the European integration process heavily influenced the views of the voters towards the euro.

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Paper provided by Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission in its series European Economy - Economic Papers with number 205.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:euf:ecopap:0205
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  1. Barry Eichengreen & David Leblang, 2003. "Exchange Rates and Cohesion: Historical Perspectives and Political-Economy Considerations," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(5), pages 797-822, December.
  2. M.J. Artis, 2002. "Reflections on the Optimal Currency Area (oca) Criteria in the Light of EMU," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 193, Central Bank of Chile.
  3. Pierre-Guillaume Méon, 2002. "Distributive consequences of a monetary union: what can we learn from a referendum?," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/8390, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  4. Mongelli, Francesco Paolo, 2002. "ìNew" Views on the Optimum Currency Area Theory: What is EMU Telling US?," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2002 140, Royal Economic Society.
  5. Doyle, Orla & Fidrmuc, Jan, 2004. "Who is in favor of enlargement? Determinants of support for EU membership in the candidate countries' referenda," ZEI Working Papers B 04-2004, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies, University of Bonn.
  6. Vlachos, Jonas, 2003. "Who Wants Political Integration? Evidence from the Swedish EU-Membership Referendum," Working Paper Series 594, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  7. Barry Eichengreen & Jeffry Frieden, 1993. "The Political Economy Of European Monetary Unification: An Analytical Introduction," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 5(2), pages 85-104, 07.
  8. Benny Carlson & Lars Jonung, 2006. "Knut Wicksell, Gustav Cassel, Eli Heckscher, Bertil Ohlin and Gunnar Myrdal on the Role of the Economist in Public Debate," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 3(3), pages 511-550, September.
  9. Michael D. Bordo & Lars Jonung, 1999. "The Future of EMU: What Does the History of Monetary Unions Tell Us?," NBER Working Papers 7365, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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