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A Modern Reconsideration of the Theory of Optimal Currency Areas

  • Giancarlo Corsetti

What can be learnt from revisiting the Optimal Currency Areas (OCA) theory 50 years from its birth, in light of recent advances in open economy macro and monetary theory? This paper presents a stylized micro-founded model of the costs of adopting a common currency, relative to an ideal benchmark in which domestic monetary authorities pursue country-specific efficient stabilization. Costs from (a) limiting monetary autonomy and (b) giving up exchange rate flexibility are examined in turn. These costs will generally be of the same magnitude as the costs of the business cycle. However, to the extent that exchange rates do not perform the stabilizing role envisioned by traditional OCA theory, a common monetary policy can be as efficient as nationally differentiated policies, even when shocks are strongly asymmetric, provided that the composition of aggregate spending tends to be symmetric at union-wide level. Convergence in consumption (and spending) patterns thus emerges as a possible novel attribute of countries participating in an efficient currency area.

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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 308.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:euf:ecopap:0308
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  1. Giancarlo Corsetti, 2005. "Openness and the case for flexible exchange rates," Economics Working Papers ECO2005/21, European University Institute.
  2. Pedro Teles & Isabel Correia & Bernardino Adao, 2007. "On the Relevance of Exchange Rate Regimes for Stabilization Policy," 2007 Meeting Papers 616, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Frankel, Jeffrey A & Rose, Andrew K, 1996. "The Endogeneity of the Optimum Currency Area Criteria," CEPR Discussion Papers 1473, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Obstfeld, Maurice & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1995. "Exchange Rate Dynamics Redux," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(3), pages 624-60, June.
  5. Fabio Ghironi & Marc J. Melitz, 2004. "International Trade and Macroeconomic Dynamics with Heterogeneous Firms," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 599, Boston College Department of Economics.
  6. W.H. Buiter, 2000. "Optimal Currency Areas: Why Does the Exchange Rate Regime Matter? (With an Application to UK Membership in EMU)," CEP Discussion Papers dp0462, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  7. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth Rogoff, 2003. "Global Implications of Self-Oriented National Monetary Rules," Macroeconomics 0303018, EconWPA.
  8. Goldberg, Pinelopi Koujianou & Verboven, Frank, 2001. "The Evolution of Price Dispersion in the European Car Market," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(4), pages 811-48, October.
  9. Giancarlo Corsetti & Luca Dedola & Sylvain Leduc, 2007. "Optimal Monetary Policy and the Sources of Local-Currency Price Stability," NBER Chapters, in: International Dimensions of Monetary Policy, pages 319-367 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Obstfeld, Maurice & Duarte, Margarida, 2005. "Monetary Policy in the Open Economy Revisited: The Case for Exchange-Rate Flexibility Restored," 2005 Meeting Papers 386, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  11. Beetsma, Roel & Jensen, Henrik, 2002. "Monetary and fiscal policy interactions in a micro-founded model of a monetary union," Working Paper Series 0166, European Central Bank.
  12. Sutherland, Alan, 2002. "International monetary policy coordination and financial market integration," Working Paper Series 0174, European Central Bank.
  13. Bernardino Ad�o & Isabel Correia & Pedro Teles, 2003. "Gaps and Triangles," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(4), pages 699-713.
  14. Robert E. Lucas Jr., 2003. "Macroeconomic Priorities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 1-14, March.
  15. Corsetti, Giancarlo & Martin, Philippe & Pesenti, Paolo, 2005. "Productivity Spillovers, Terms of Trade and the 'Home Market Effect'," CEPR Discussion Papers 4964, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. Pedro Teles & Isabel Correia & Bernardino Adao, 2007. "Monetary Policy with Single Instrument Feedback Rules," 2007 Meeting Papers 622, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  17. Michael Devereux & Charles Engel, 2000. "Monetary Policy in the Open Economy Revisited: Price Setting and Exchange Rate Flexibiity," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 0016, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
  18. Andrew Levin & Christopher J. Erceg & Dale W. Henderson, 1999. "Optimal Monetary Policy with Staggered Wage and Price Contracts," Computing in Economics and Finance 1999 1151, Society for Computational Economics.
  19. Corsetti, Giancarlo & Dedola, Luca, 2005. "A macroeconomic model of international price discrimination," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 129-155, September.
  20. Andrew K. Rose, 2000. "One money, one market: the effect of common currencies on trade," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 15(30), pages 7-46, 04.
  21. Benigno, Pierpaolo, 2004. "Optimal monetary policy in a currency area," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 293-320, July.
  22. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1996. "Foundations of International Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262150476, June.
  23. Kalemli-Ozcan, Sebnem & Sørensen, Bent E & Yosha, Oved, 2004. "Asymmetric Shocks and Risk Sharing in a Monetary Union: Updated Evidence and Policy Implications for Europe," CEPR Discussion Papers 4463, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  24. Bernardino Adao, 2000. "Gaps and Triangles," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1904, Econometric Society.
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