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.
EMU started with eleven member countries as scheduled on January 1, 1999. The paper shows that the primacy of politics over economics in this decision could have serious consequences concerning the stability of EMU in the transition phase. Speculative attacks against currencies which are in economic distress due to asymmetric shocks can still happen. A speculative attack as such cannot force a country out of EMU. However, the country concerned might voluntarily decide to leave the system as the costs of staying inside EMU, e.g., due to further rising unemployment, become too large to bear.