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The EMS, the EMU, and the Transition to a Common Currency

  • Kenneth A. Froot
  • Kenneth Rogoff

When central banks are about to relinquish control over their exchange rate and enter into a currency union, the reptutational costs to devaluation are very low. As with any finite-horizon game, the endpoint affects the earlier expectations of private agents, here causing them to demand higher interest rates and higher wages from countries whose currencies are relatively weak. In looking at the countries within the EMS, we find that Italian long-term interest rates as well as price and wages levels relative to Germany show evidence of growing gaps We also find that the real appreciation of the lira appears to be predominantly due to increases in relative Italian government spending, and not to relatively rapid Italian productivity growth. Taken together, this evidence suggests that convergence within the EMS may have peaked. Furthermore, moving forward the date of currency union may in the short run increase both the growth of the gaps and the need for exchange-rate realignment.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3684.

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Date of creation: Apr 1991
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Publication status: published as NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1991, Vol. 6, eds. O.J. Blanchard and S. Fischer , Cambridge: MIT Press, January 1992.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3684
Note: ITI IFM
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  1. Marianne Baxter & Alan C. Stockman, 1988. "Business Cycles and the Exchange Rate System: Some International Evidence," NBER Working Papers 2689, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Alan C. Stockman & Linda L. Tesar, 1990. "Tastes and Technology in a Two-Country Model of the Business Cycle: Explaining International Comovements," NBER Working Papers 3566, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Svensson, Lars E O, 1991. "The Simplest Test of Target Zone Credibility," CEPR Discussion Papers 493, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Alberto Giovannini, 1990. "European Monetary Reform: Progress and Prospects," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 21(2), pages 217-292.
  5. 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.
  6. Barro, Robert J., 1986. "Reputation in a model of monetary policy with incomplete information," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 3-20, January.
  7. Barro, Robert J & Gordon, David B, 1983. "A Positive Theory of Monetary Policy in a Natural Rate Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(4), pages 589-610, August.
  8. Meese, Richard A. & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1983. "Empirical exchange rate models of the seventies : Do they fit out of sample?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1-2), pages 3-24, February.
  9. Meese, Richard A & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1988. " Was It Real? The Exchange Rate-Interest Differential Relation over the Modern Floating-Rate Period," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 43(4), pages 933-48, September.
  10. Barro, Robert J. & Gordon, David B., 1983. "Rules, discretion and reputation in a model of monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 101-121.
  11. Frenkel, Jacob A & Razin, Assaf, 1986. "Fiscal Policies in the World Economy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages 564-94, June.
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