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Establishing a Monetary Union


  • Russell Cooper
  • Hubert Kempf


This paper explores the gains to monetary union. We consider a two-country overlapping generations model. Agents work when young and have random tastes over the composition (domestic vs. foreign goods) of old age consumption. In equilibrium, governments require that local currency be used for transactions as a means of creating a base for seignorage. Thus agents hold multiple currencies to deal with uncertainty in their optimal consumption bundles. We argue that this equilibrium is Pareto dominated by a monetary union, in which there is a single currency and a strong central bank that optimally chooses zero inflation. As suggested by the European Commission's 1990 report, monetary union reduces the inefficiencies created by multiple currencies and leads to price stability. Finally, we argue this Pareto superior outcome cannot be achieved without cooperation of the two governments.

Suggested Citation

  • Russell Cooper & Hubert Kempf, 1998. "Establishing a Monetary Union," NBER Working Papers 6791, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6791
    Note: EFG

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Canzoneri, Matthew B., 1989. "Adverse incentives in the taxation of foreigners," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3-4), pages 283-297, November.
    2. Fischer, Stanley, 1982. "Seigniorage and the Case for a National Money," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(2), pages 295-313, April.
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    4. Aizenman, Joshua, 1992. "Competitive Externalities and the Optimal Seigniorage," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 24(1), pages 61-71, February.
    5. Chari, V.V. & Kehoe, Patrick J., 2007. "On the need for fiscal constraints in a monetary union," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(8), pages 2399-2408, November.
    6. Christiano, Lawrence J & Eichenbaum, Martin, 1992. "Liquidity Effects and the Monetary Transmission Mechanism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 346-353, May.
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    10. Canzoneri, Matthew B & Rogers, Carol Ann, 1990. "Is the European Community an Optimal Currency Area? Optimal Taxation versus the Cost of Multiple Currencies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 419-433, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Holod, Dmytro & Reed, Robert III, 2004. "Regional spillovers, economic growth, and the effects of economic integration," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 85(1), pages 35-42, October.
    2. Russell W. Cooper & Hubert Kempf, 2001. "Dollarization and the conquest of hyperinflation in divided societies," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Sum, pages 3-12.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E50 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - General
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies


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