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Obstacles to International Macroeconomic Policy Coordination


  • Jeffrey A. Frankel.


Coordination of macroeconomic policies among countries is not as straightforward in practice as it appears in theory. This paper discusses three obstacles to successful international coordination: (1) uncertainty as to the correct initial position of the economy, (2) uncertainty as to the correct objective, and (3) uncertainty as to the correct model linking policy actions to their effects in the economy. Previous results (NBER Working Paper No. 2059) showed that coordination under conditions of policy-maker disagreement about the correct model could very well reduce national welfare rather than raise it. This paper extends those results to allow for explicit policy-maker recognition of uncertainty regarding the correct model, as well as uncertainty regarding the model to which other policy-makers subscribe. It also shows that the potential gains from coordination, even when positive, are usually small relative to the gains from unilateral policy changes based on improved knowledge of the model.
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Suggested Citation

  • Jeffrey A. Frankel., 1987. "Obstacles to International Macroeconomic Policy Coordination," Economics Working Papers 8737, University of California at Berkeley.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucb:calbwp:8737

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Cooper, Richard N., 1985. "Economic interdependence and coordination of economic policies," Handbook of International Economics,in: R. W. Jones & P. B. Kenen (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 23, pages 1195-1234 Elsevier.
    2. Warwick J. McKibbin & Jeffrey Sachs, 1986. "Coordination of Monetary and Fiscal Policies in the OECD," NBER Working Papers 1800, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1985. "Can international monetary policy cooperation be counterproductive?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3-4), pages 199-217, May.
    4. Zarnowitz, Victor, 1982. "On Functions, Quality, and Timeliness of Economic Information," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(1), pages 87-119, January.
    5. Gilles Oudiz & Jeffrey Sachs, 1984. "Macroeconomic Policy Coordination among the Industrial Economies," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 15(1), pages 1-76.
    6. Melitz, Jacques, 1985. "The welfare case for the European Monetary System," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 485-506, December.
    7. N. Gregory Mankiw & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1986. "News or Noise? An Analysis of GNP Revisions," NBER Working Papers 1939, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Hughes Hallett, Andrew, 1987. "Macroeconomic Policy Design with Incomplete Information: A New Argument for Coordinating Economic Policies," CEPR Discussion Papers 151, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Holtham, Gerald & Hughes Hallett, Andrew, 1987. "International Policy Cooperation and Model Uncertainty," CEPR Discussion Papers 190, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Canzoneri, Matthew B & Minford, Patrick, 1986. "When International Policy Coordination Matters: An Empirical Analysis," CEPR Discussion Papers 119, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. Zarnowitz, Victor & Moore, Geoffrey H, 1982. "Sequential Signals of Recession and Recovery," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(1), pages 57-85, January.
    12. Victor Zarnowitz, 1980. "On Functions, Quality, and Timeliness of Economic Information," NBER Working Papers 0608, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Engel, Charles, 2016. "International coordination of central bank policy," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 13-24.
    2. Eichengreen, Barry, 1990. "Relaxing the External Constraint: europe in the 1930s," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt45x5d198, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
    3. Kocenda, Evzen & Hanousek, Jan & Engelmann, Dirk, 2008. "Currencies, competition, and clans," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 1115-1132.
    4. H. Askari, 1999. "Twenty-five years of post-Bretton Woods experience: some lessons," Banca Nazionale del Lavoro Quarterly Review, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, vol. 52(208), pages 3-38.
    5. Eichengreen, Barry & Ghironi, Fabio, 1997. "European Monetary Unification and International Monetary Cooperation," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series qt10d518tg, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
    6. George Alogoskoufis & Richard Portes, 1990. "International Costs and Benefits from EMU," NBER Working Papers 3384, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Jeffrey A. Frankel, 2016. "International Coordination," NBER Working Papers 21878, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Barry Eichengreen, 2008. "Should there be a coordinated response to the problem of global imbalances? Can there be one?," Working Papers 69, United Nations, Department of Economics and Social Affairs.
    9. Peter Mooslechner & Martin Schuerz, 1999. "International Macroeconomic Policy Coordination: Any Lessons for EMU? A Selective Survey of the Literature," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 26(3), pages 171-199, September.
    10. repec:kap:iaecre:v:10:y:2004:i:1:p:72-82 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. F. Van der Ploeg, 1992. "Coordinación de políticas macroeconómicas en las diferentes etapas de la integración económica y monetaria en Europa," EKONOMIAZ. Revista vasca de Economía, Gobierno Vasco / Eusko Jaurlaritza / Basque Government, vol. 24(03), pages 240-286.

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