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Attitudes Towards Inflation and the Viability of Fixed Exchange Rates: Evidence from the EMS

  • Collins, S.M.
  • Giavazzi, F.

History provides us with many examples of multiple country fixed exchange rate regimes that have eventually fallen apart. In light of these failures, why has the EMS been so successful in stabilizing exchange rates among members, and in expanding its membership? This paper argues that one key aspect of the explanation lies in a convergence in attitudes toward inflation and unemployment among EMS members since the late 1970s. This paper presents new empirical evidence for this convergence using household survey data for eight European countries during 1974-90. We find evidence that initially high inflation countries -- France and Italy -- have experienced a decrease in tolerance for inflation relative to unemployment. Germany and other low inflation countries, in contrast, appear to have experienced a decrease in tolerance for unemployment. The paper also contains a theoretical section that illustrates why shifts in attitudes of voters within a given country might lead that country to join a fixed exchange rate regime.

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Paper provided by Harvard - Institute of Economic Research in its series Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers with number 1592.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: 1992
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fth:harver:1592
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  1. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1985. "Can exchange rate predictability be achieved without monetary convergence? : Evidence from the EMS," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(1-2), pages 93-115.
  2. Robert J. Barro & David B. Gordon, 1981. "A Positive Theory of Monetary Policy in a Natural-Rate Model," NBER Working Papers 0807, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Alesina, Alberto F & Grilli, Vittorio, 1991. "The European Central Bank: Reshaping Monetary Politics in Europe," CEPR Discussion Papers 563, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Fischer, Stanley & Huizinga, John, 1982. "Inflation, Unemployment, and Public Opinion Polls," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 14(1), pages 1-19, February.
  5. N. Gregory Mankiw & Jeffrey A. Miron & David N. Weil, 1987. "The Adjustment of Expectations to a Change in Regime: A Study of the Founding of the Federal Reserve," NBER Working Papers 2124, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521389051 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Michael D. Bordo, 1992. "The Bretton Woods International Monetary System: An Historical Overview," NBER Working Papers 4033, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-91, June.
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