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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 unionwide 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 European University Institute in its series Economics Working Papers with number ECO2008/12.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:eui:euiwps:eco2008/12
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  1. Obstfeld, Maurice & Rogoff, Kenneth S., 1995. "Exchange Rate Dynamics Redux," Scholarly Articles 12491026, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. 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.
  3. Bernardino Adão & Isabel Horta Correia & Pedro Teles, 2006. "On the Relevance of Exchange Rate Regimes for Stabilization Policy," Working Papers w200616, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
  4. Corsetti, Giancarlo & Dedola, Luca & Leduc, Sylvain, 2007. "Optimal Monetary Policy and the Sources of Local-Currency Price Stability," CEPR Discussion Papers 6557, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Robert E. Lucas Jr., 2003. "Macroeconomic Priorities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 1-14, March.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Fabio Ghironi & Marc Melitz, 2004. "International Trade and Macroeconomic Dynamics with Heterogeneous Firms," 2004 Meeting Papers 451, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  9. Bernardino Adao & Isabel Correia & Pedro Teles, 2003. "Gaps and Triangles," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(4), pages 699-713, October.
  10. Obstfeld, Maurice & Rogoff, Kenneth, 2001. "Global Implications of Self-Oriented National Monetary Rules," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series qt6412m5b7, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  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. Benigno, Pierpaolo, 2004. "Optimal monetary policy in a currency area," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 293-320, July.
  13. 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.
  14. Bernardino Adão & Isabel Correia & Pedro Teles, 2004. "Monetary policy with single instrument feedback rules," Working Paper Series WP-04-30, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  15. Frankel, Jeffrey A & Rose, Andrew K, 1998. "The Endogeneity of the Optimum Currency Area Criteria," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(449), pages 1009-25, July.
  16. 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.
  17. Goldberg, Pinelopi Koujianou & Verboven, Frank, 1998. "The Evolution of Price Dispersion in the European Car Market," CEPR Discussion Papers 2029, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. Giancarlo Corsetti, 2005. "Openness and the case for flexible exchange rates," Economics Working Papers ECO2005/21, European University Institute.
  19. Duarte, Margarida & Obstfeld, Maurice, 2008. "Monetary policy in the open economy revisited: The case for exchange-rate flexibility restored," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 949-957, October.
  20. Sutherland, Alan, 2002. "International monetary policy coordination and financial market integration," Working Paper Series 0174, European Central Bank.
  21. Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan & Bent E. Sorensen & Oved Yosha, 2004. "Asymmetric Shocks and Risk Sharing in a Monetary Union: Updated Evidence and Policy Implications for Europe," Working Papers 2004-05, Department of Economics, University of Houston.
  22. Corsetti, Giancarlo & Dedola, Luca, 2005. "A macroeconomic model of international price discrimination," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 129-155, September.
  23. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1996. "Foundations of International Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262150476, June.
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