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.
Central European accession countries (CECs) are currently considering when to adopt the euro. From the perspective of macroeconomic stabilization, the cost or benefit of giving up a flexible exchange rate depends on the types of asymmetric shocks hitting the economy and the ability of the exchange rate to act as a shock absorber. Economic theory suggests that flexible exchange rates are useful in absorbing asymmetric real shocks but unhelpful in the case of monetary and financial shocks. For five CECs-the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, the Slovak Republic, and Slovenia-empirical results on the basis of a structural VAR suggest that in the CECs the exchange rate appears to have served as much or more as an unhelpful propagator of monetary and financial shocks than as a useful absorber of real shocks.