The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This paper reviews alternative approaches to measuring an economy's cost competitiveness and proposes some new measures inspired by the economic theory of index numbers. The indices provide a theoretical benchmark for estimated real effective exchange rates, but differ from standard measures in that they are based on marginal rather than average sectoral shares in GDP or employment. The use of the new indices is illustrated by some simple calculations that highlight the potential exposure of the Irish economy to fluctuations in the euro-sterling exchange rate.