Risk Sharing and the Theory of Optimal Currency Areas: A Re-examination of Mundell 1973
Mundell (1973) argues that a common currency area provides benefits for its members by offering insurance against region-specific shocks. We develop a simple model to analyse the nature of risksharing benefits of a single currency area for emerging market economies, based on Mundell's hypothesis. An important pre-requisite for the risk-sharing benefits of a single currency is that there be limited trade among countries in national-currency denominated bonds. The evidence for emerging markets supports this assumption. In this case, we show that a single currency area may support risk sharing that could not be achieved under floating exchange rates. Based on a simple quantitative evaluation of our model, we show that the implied risk sharing can be substantial.
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