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 considers the extent to which the North American Free Trade Area (NAFTA) meets the criteria for a common currency area. NAFTA is compared with the EC, a regional grouping for which initial plans for a monetary union are already in place. Most of the anticipated benefits from a monetary union in the EC apply with equal force to NAFTA. However, because the underlying disturbances are more diverse across members of NAFTA, the costs of abandoning the exchange rate instrument are likely to be higher. This is particularly true when NAFTA is compared to the EC’s continental core.