Mr. Helge Berger, Mr. Giovanni Dell'Ariccia, and Mr. Maurice Obstfeld
The paper makes an analytical contribution to the revived discussion about the euro area’s institutional setup. After significant progress during the euro crisis, the drive to complete Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) had stalled, and the way forward will benefit from an in-depth look at the conceptual issues raised by the evolution and architecture of Europe, and the tradeoffs involved. A thorough look at the underlying economic issues suggests that in the long run, EMU will benefit from progressing along three mutually supporting tracks: introduce more fiscal risk sharing, helping to make the sovereign “no bailout” rule credible; complementary financial sector reforms to delink sovereigns and banks; and more effective rules to discourage moral hazard. This evolution would ensure that financial markets provide incentives for fiscal discipline. Introducing more fiscal union comes with myriad legal, technical, operational, and political problems, raising questions well beyond the remit of economics. But without decisive progress to foster fiscal risk sharing, EMU will continue to face existential risks.
This 2012 Article IV Consultation—Selected Issues Paper on Euro Area Policies argues that the creation of a common eurozone financial stability architecture is an immediate priority to restore the viability of the Economic and Monetary Union. The paper presents a narrative of the various stages of the banking and sovereign crisis since the Summer of 2011. It also characterizes the downward spirals at play in periphery euro area countries and describes the process of financial de-integration within the euro area.
This issue of the IMF Research Bulletin opens with a letter from the new editor, Rabah Arezki. The Research Summaries are a "Primer on 'Global Liquidity'" (Eugenio Cerutti, Stijn Claessens, and Lev Ratnovski); and "Trade Integration adn Business Cycle Synchronization" (Kevin Cheng, Romain Duval, and Dulani Senevirante). The Q&A column looks at "Seven Questions on the Global Housing Markets" (Hites Ahir, Heedon Kang, and Prakash Loungani). September 2014 issue of the Bulletin also includes updates on IMF Working Papers, Staff Discussion Notes, and Recommended Readings from the IMF Bookstore, as well as special announcements on new staff publications and the Fifteenth Annual Jacques Polak Research Conference. Also included is information on the latest issue of “IMF Economic Review” with a link to an article by Paul Krugman.
The paper presents a model of optimum currency areas using a general equilibrium approach with regionally differentiated goods. The choice of a currency union depends upon the size of the underlying disturbances, the correlation between these disturbances, the costs of transactions across currencies, factor mobility across regions, and the interrelationships between demand for different goods. It is found that, while a currency union can raise the welfare of the regions within the union, it unambiguously lowers welfare for those outside the union. [JEL F33, F36]
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
Following are edited remarks by Stanley Fischer, the IMF’s First Deputy Managing Director, at the Argentine Bankers Association Meeting in Buenos Aires on June 25. The full text of his speaking notes is available on the IMF’s website at www.imf.org.
We examine the mean-reverting properties of real exchange rates, by comparing the unit root properties of a group of international real exchange rates with two groups of intra-national real exchange rates. Strikingly, we find that while the international real rates taken as a group appear mean-reverting, the intra-national rates are not. This is consistent with the view that while monetary shocks may be mean-reverting over the medium term, underlying real factors do generate long-term trends in real exchange rates.
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.
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.
We study economic globalization as a multidimensional process and investigate its effect on incomes. In a panel of 147 countries during 1970-2014, we apply a new instrumental variable, exploiting globalization’s geographically diffusive character, and find differential gains from globalization both across and within countries: Income gains are substantial for countries at early and medium stages of the globalization process, but the marginal returns diminish as globalization rises, eventually becoming insignificant. Within countries, these gains are concentrated at the top of national income distributions, resulting in rising inequality. We find that domestic policies can mitigate the adverse distributional effects of globalization.
Robert Mundell's pioneering theory of optimum currency areas is revisited, with experts from the IMF, the BIS, the European Investment Bank, academia, European think tanks, and the Bank of Israel looking at its current practical applications, especially in the context of the forthcoming European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). Robert Mundell himself offers an update to help in assessing the implications and consequences of EMU.