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Open-Economy Macroeconomics: Developments in Theory and Policy

  • Maurice Obstfeld

This paper surveys recent research in open-economy macroeconomics, using questions raised by European economic and monetary unification to guide the topics discussed. A striking empirical regularity is the tendency for changes in the nominal exchange rate regime systematically to affect the variability of nominal and real exchange rates alike. This regularity (which disappears in high-inflation conditions) can be explained by sticky-price theories or by models of asset-market liquidity effects. But plausible liquidity models have difficulty generating enough persistence (in output and real exchange rates, in particular) to match the data. Thus the macroeconomic costs of giving up the exchange-rate realignment option, emphasized in Mundell's optimum currency area concept, seem empirically relevant. The paper discusses other possible costs of currency unification associated with a reduced number of asset markets. On the benefit side, our theories of the efficiences due to a common currency remain unsatisfactory, despite recent advances. A key motivation for the choice of a common currency over a fixed exchange rate between national currencies is the fear of speculative attack. The paper concludes by showing how self-fulfilling currency crises can occur, and describes recent progress in narrowing the range of multiple equilibria in adjustable-peg regimes.

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Paper provided by Queen's University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 958.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: Sep 1997
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:qed:wpaper:958
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  1. Don E. Schlagenhauf & Jeffrey M. Wrase, 1992. "Liquidity and real activity in a simple open economy model," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 57, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  2. Maurice Obstfeld and Alan M. Taylor., 1997. "Nonlinear Aspects of Goods-Market Arbitrage and Adjustment: Heckscher's Commodity Points Revisited," Center for International and Development Economics Research (CIDER) Working Papers C97-088, University of California at Berkeley.
  3. Kimball, Miles S, 1995. "The Quantitative Analytics of the Basic Neomonetarist Model," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(4), pages 1241-77, November.
  4. Charles Engel & John H. Rogers, 1995. "Regional Patterns in the Law of One Price: The Roles of Geography vs. Currencies," NBER Working Papers 5395, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Hugo Rodríguez, 1998. "Monetary unions and the transaction cost savings of a single currency," Economics Working Papers 291, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  6. Obstfeld, Maurice, 1996. "Models of Currency Crises with Self-fulfilling Features," CEPR Discussion Papers 1315, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Stockman, Alan C., 1988. "Real exchange-rate variability under pegged and floating nominal exchange-rate systems: An equilibrium theory," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 259-294, January.
  8. Helpman, Elhanan & Razin, Assaf, 1982. "A Comparison of Exchange Rate Regimes in the Presence of Imperfect Capital Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 23(2), pages 365-88, June.
  9. Giavazzi, Francesco & Pagano, Marco, 1986. "The Advantages of Tying One's Hands: EMS Discipline and Central Bank Credibility," CEPR Discussion Papers 135, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Reinhart, Carmen & Kaminsky, Graciela, 2000. "Las crisis gemelas: las causas de los problemas bancarios y de balanza de pagos
    [The twin crises: Te causes of banking and balance of payments problems]
    ," MPRA Paper 13842, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  11. Mussa, Michael, 1982. "A Model of Exchange Rate Dynamics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(1), pages 74-104, February.
  12. Fernando Alvarez & Andrew Atkeson, 1996. "Money and Exchange Rates in the Grossman-Weiss-Rotemberg Model," NBER Working Papers 5678, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Dowd, Kevin & Greenaway, David, 1993. "Currency Competition, Network Externalities and Switching Costs: Towards an Alternative View of Optimum Currency Areas," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(420), pages 1180-89, September.
  14. Grilli, Vittorio & Roubini, Nouriel, 1992. "Liquidity and exchange rates," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3-4), pages 339-352, May.
  15. Krugman, Paul, 1979. "A Model of Balance-of-Payments Crises," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 11(3), pages 311-25, August.
  16. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1990. "Liquidity and interest rates," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 237-264, April.
  17. Kollmann, R., 1996. "The Exchange rate in a Dynamic-Optimizing Current Account Model with Nominal Rigidities : A Quantitative Investigation," Discussion Paper 1996-67, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  18. Romer, David, 1987. "The monetary transmission mechanism in a general equilibrium version of the baumol-tobin model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 105-122, July.
  19. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1996. "Foundations of International Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262150476, June.
  20. Kenneth Rogoff, 1996. "The Purchasing Power Parity Puzzle," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(2), pages 647-668, June.
  21. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1982. "Interest rates and currency prices in a two-country world," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 335-359.
  22. Julio J. Rotemberg, 1982. "Money and the Terms of Trade," NBER Working Papers 1003, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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