By Leila Simona Talani (eds.)
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Extra resources for The Future of EMU
2 Stabilization and adjustment At its heart, the economic debate about national currencies, common currencies, and optimum currency areas hinges on the problem of shocks and adjustment. The trick is to make sure that unemployment levels do not rise (or endure) every time something bad happens and the national economy suffers from an adverse shock. This debate assumes that price (and wage) adjustments are neither smooth nor automatic. If prices and wages adjusted smoothly and automatically in response to economic Real unit labor costs vs.
The point is that they do not have to differ and there are good reasons why they would not differ. Where one market and one currency predominate in regional trading arrangements, we should expect any shocks to that market and that currency to propagate outward across the regional exchange rate system as a whole. Such propagation is even more likely when other countries peg their currency values on the regional core. This is why the ERM country dyads are highly correlated and it is where the fourth assumption that other countries’ choice of exchange rate policy is the same as the home country comes into play.
Finally, in this view the responsibility of a central bank extends beyond price stability (even if this remains its primary objective). There are movements in demand that cannot be stabilized by only caring about price stability. From the preceding analysis it appears that the present governance of the euro-zone has been devised based on the assumption that the world is one which fits the ‘New Classical Synthesis’. If the latter theory is indeed the correct view of the world, there is little need to move on with political integration in the euro-zone, and the present political governance of the euro-zone is perfectly adapted to the world in which we live.