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Monetary Unions, External Shocks and Economic Performance: A Latin American Perspective

  • Sebastian Edwards

During the last few years there has been a renewed analysis in currency unions as a form of monetary arrangement. This new interest has been largely triggered by the Euro experience. Scholars and policy makers have asked about the optimal number of currencies in the world economy. They have analyzed whether different countries satisfy the traditional %u201Coptimal currency area%u201D criteria. These include, among other: (a) the synchronization of the business cycle; (b) the degree of factor mobility; and (c) the extent of trade and financial integration. In this paper I analyze the desirability of a monetary union from a Latin American perspective. First, I review the existing literature on the subject. Second, I use a large data set to analyze the evidence on economic performance in currency union countries. I investigate these countries%u2019 performance on four dimensions: (a) whether countries without a national currency have a lower occurrence of %u201Csudden stop%u201D episodes; (b) whether they have a lower occurrence of %u201Ccurrent account reversal%u201D episodes; (c) what is their ability to absorb international terms of trade shocks; and (d) what is their ability to absorb %u201Csudden stops%u201D and %u201Ccurrent account reversals%u201D shocks. I find that belonging to a currency union has not lower the probability of facing a sudden stop or a current account reversal. I also find that external shocks have been amplified in currency union countries. The degree of amplification is particularly large when compared to flexible exchange rate countries.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12229.

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Date of creation: May 2006
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Publication status: published as Sebastian Edwards, 2006. "Monetary unions, external shocks and economic performance: A Latin American perspective," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 3(3), pages 225-247, December.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12229
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  1. Bayoumi, Tamim, 1994. "A Formal Model of Optimum Currency Areas," CEPR Discussion Papers 968, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Sebastian Edwards, 2004. "Thirty Years of Current Account Imbalances, Current Account Reversals and Sudden Stops," NBER Working Papers 10276, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Rudi Dornbusch, 2001. "Fewer Monies, Better Monies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 238-242, May.
  4. Eduard Hochreiter & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel & Georg Winckler, 2002. "Monetary Union: European Lessons, Latin American Prospects," Working Papers 68, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank).
  5. George Kopits, 2002. "Central European EU Accession and Latin American Integration: Mutual Lessons in Macro-Economic Policy Design," Working Papers 75, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank).
  6. Barro, Robert J & Lee, Jong-Wha, 2001. "International Data on Educational Attainment: Updates and Implications," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(3), pages 541-63, July.
  7. Barry Eichengreen, 1998. "Does Mercosur Need a Single Currency," NBER Working Papers 6821, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Silvana Tenreyro & Robert J. Barro, 2002. "Economic effects of currency unions," Working Papers 02-4, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  9. Eduardo A. Cavallo & Jeffrey Frankel, 2007. "Does Openness to Trade Make Countries More Vulnerable to Sudden Stops, or Less? Using Gravity to Establish Causality," Research Department Publications 4544, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  10. Gian Maria Milesi Ferretti & Assaf Razin, 2000. "Current Account Reversals and Currency Crises: Empirical Regularities," NBER Chapters, in: Currency Crises, pages 285-323 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Edwards, Sebastian & Levy Yeyati, Eduardo, 2005. "Flexible exchange rates as shock absorbers," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(8), pages 2079-2105, November.
  12. Andrew K. Rose & Charles Engel, 2000. "Currency Unions and International Integration," NBER Working Papers 7872, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Andrew Berg & Eduardo Borensztein & Paolo Mauro, 2002. "An Evaluation of Monetary Regime Options for Latin America," Working Papers 67, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank).
  14. Tavlas, G.S., 1991. "On the International Use of Currencies: the Case of the Deutsche Mark," Princeton Studies in International Economics 181, International Economics Section, Departement of Economics Princeton University,.
  15. Jeffrey Frankel & Andrew Rose, 2002. "An Estimate of the Effect of Common Currencies on Trade and Income," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(2), pages 437-466.
  16. Sebastian Edwards, 1999. "The Choice of Exchange Rate Regime in Developing and Middle Income Countries," NBER Chapters, in: Changes in Exchange Rates in Rapidly Developing Countries: Theory, Practice, and Policy Issues (NBER-EASE volume 7), pages 9-28 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Sebastian Edwards & I. Igal Magendzo, 2003. "Strict Dollarization and Economic Performance: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 9820, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Frankel, Jeffrey A. & Rose, Andrew K., 1996. "Currency crashes in emerging markets: An empirical treatment," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3-4), pages 351-366, November.
  19. Hochreiter, Eduard & Siklos, Pierre L., 2002. "Alternative exchange-rate regimes: The options for Latin America," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 195-211, December.
  20. Guillermo A. Calvo & Ernesto Talvi, 2005. "Sudden Stop, Financial Factors and Economic Collpase in Latin America: Learning from Argentina and Chile," NBER Working Papers 11153, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Jeffrey Sachs & Andrew Warner, 1995. "Economic Reform and the Progress of Global Integration," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1733, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  22. Jeffrey A. Frankel & Andrew K. Rose, 1996. "The Endogeneity of the Optimum Currency Area Criteria," NBER Working Papers 5700, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Belke, Ansgar & Gros, Daniel, 2002. "Monetary integration in the Southern Cone," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 323-349, December.
  24. Sebastian Edwards & Igal Magendzo, 2003. "A Currency of One's Own? An Empirical Investigation on Dollarization and Independent Currency Unions," NBER Working Papers 9514, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Sebastian Edwards, 2002. "Does the Current Account Matter?," NBER Chapters, in: Preventing Currency Crises in Emerging Markets, pages 21-76 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Mongelli, Francesco Paolo, 2002. "├ČNew" Views on the Optimum Currency Area Theory: What is EMU Telling US?," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2002 140, Royal Economic Society.
  27. Larrain Felipe & Jose Tavares, 2003. "Regional Currencies Versus Dollarization: Options for Asia and the Americas," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(1), pages 35-49.
  28. George S. Tavlas, 2009. "Optimum-Currency-Area Paradoxes," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(3), pages 536-551, 08.
  29. Kopits, George, 2002. "Central European EU accession and Latin American integration: Mutual lessons in macroeconomic policy design," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 253-277, December.
  30. Sebastian Edwards, 2004. "Thirty Years of Current Account Imbalances, Current Account Reversals, and Sudden Stops," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 51(s1), pages 1-49, June.
  31. Andrew K. Rose & Eric van Wincoop, 2001. "National Money as a Barrier to International Trade: The Real Case for Currency Union," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 386-390, May.
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