The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. With nearly 300 released each year, working papers cover 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 shows that exchange rate variability promotes agglomeration of economic activity. Under flexible rates, firms located in large markets have lower variability of sales, reinforcing concentration of firms there. Empirical evidence on OECD countries demonstrates (1) that the negative effect of country size on variability of industrial production is stronger after the 1973 collapse of fixed rates and (2) for small (large) countries, exchange rates variability has a long-run negative (positive) effect on net inward FDI flows. Two implications arise: creating a currency area fosters agglomeration in the area, and a two-stage EMU may exacerbate the current uneven regional development.