The Cost of Heterogeneity in a Monetary Union
39 Pages Posted: 19 Mar 2002
Date Written: February 2002
In this paper, we explore whether heterogeneity among union members could threaten the stability of the EMU. The types of heterogeneity we consider are (1) asymmetries in the transmission of monetary and fiscal policies, and (2) differences in national preferences for price stability, output growth, and income redistribution. Our results show that the costs of membership are cumulative and can be significant for countries whose structure and/or preferences deviate from those underlying the common monetary policy. In part, these costs arise because monetary policy imposed by an independent central bank automatically constrains the use of fiscal policy by national governments.
Keywords: Transmission asymmetries, preference asymmetries, EMU, currency union, central bank independence
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