This paper discusses various developments and perspectives of the European Monetary System (EMS). There have been three phases in the development of the EMS: from its beginning in March 1979 to March 1983, can be seen as a phase of trial and orientation; from March 1983 to 1987, can be described as one of consolidation; and The Basle/Nyborg agreement marked the end of the consolidation phase, characterized by the striving for stability, the emergence of the deutsche mark as the anchor currency, and the predominance of intramarginal intervention in partner currencies. EMS has allowed simultaneous progress toward external and internal stability. The EMS Agreement provided for fluctuation margins offering some flexibility and for the possibility of central rate changes, which could compensate for diverging monetary policies. As divergences were narrowed, central rate adjustments could be small so as not to affect market rates; thus minimizing the potential for destabilizing capital flows.
“An order which is adhered to from motives of pure expediency is generally much less stable than one upheld on a purely customary basis. … But even this type of order is in turn much less stable than an order which enjoys the prestige of being considered binding or, as it may be expressed, of ‘legitimacy’.” Max Weber
This paper examines the costs, benefits, preconditions, and implications of an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) regional currency arrangement that is assumed to culminate in a regional currency. On economic criteria, ASEAN appears less suited for a regional currency arrangement than Europe before the Maastricht Treaty, although the difference is not large. The transition to European Monetary Union (EMU) indicates that the path toward a common currency is fraught with difficulty. A firm political commitment would seem to be vital to ensuring that an attempt to form a regional currency arrangement is not viewed as simply another fixed exchange rate regime, open to speculative crises.
This paper assesses the strength of business cycle synchronization between 1950 and 2014 in a sample of 21 countries using a new quarterly dataset based on IMF archival data. Contrary to the common wisdom, we find that the globalization period is not associated with more output synchronization at the global level. The world business cycle was as strong during Bretton Woods (1950-1971) than during the Globalization period (1984-2006). Although globalization did not affect the average level of co-movement, trade and financial integration strongly affect the way countries co-move with the rest of the world. We find that financial integration de-synchronizes national outputs from the world cycle, although the magnitude of this effect depends crucially on the type of shocks hitting the world economy. This de-synchronizing effect has offset the synchronizing impact of other forces, such as increased trade integration.
The paper compares the degree of capital market integration across euro-area countries with that across regions in Italy and provinces in Canada. Analyzing saving-investment correlations, and developing as well as fitting to the data a model of capital flows, reveal no compelling differences between the integration across countries before monetary union and that across the regions or provinces. The evidence does not suggest that EMU will prompt a major reallocation of net capital flows within the euro area that would entail sizable shifts in countries’ equilibrium current accounts.
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.
All for One examines inequality and the many ways it matters. In our overview article, the World Bank's Branko Milanovic explains how income inequality is measured and tells us that it's increased in most countries. The good news, he says, is that global inequality--between countries--could be on the downturn. IMF economists Andrew Berg and Jonathan Ostry find that a more equal society has a greater likelihood of sustaining longer-term growth. Other IMF research on inequality finds that financial sector development not only 'enlarges the pie' by supporting economic growth but divides it more evenly; that higher income inequality in developed countries is associated with higher indebtedness--at home and abroad; and that while fiscal consolidation is necessary in the medium term, slamming on the brakes too quickly can harm jobs and cut wages, exacerbating inequality. Also in this issue, we profile Elinor Ostrom, the first woman to receive the Nobel Prize for economics. In a tour of the globe, we look at how the African diaspora can help their home countries from afar, try to draw some early lessons from the euro area's debt crisis, investigate how the United States and its neighbor Canada handled public debt--with different results, and find out about the rise of emerging markets as systemically important trading centers. Back to Basics explains the difference between micro- and macroeconomics, and Data Spotlight tells us about a new worldwide survey of foreign direct investment.