The Walters critique of EMU presumed that pro-cyclical country-specific real interest rates would incorporate significant macroeconomic instability in an environment of asymmetric shocks. The literature on optimum currency areas suggests a number of criteria to minimize this risk, such as market flexibility, high degrees of openness, financial integration or similarity in inflation rates. In this paper, we argue that an essential part of macroeconomic volatility in a monetary union’s member country also depends on the mechanism of forming expectations. This is mainly due to (i) the construction of ex ante countryspecific real interest rate, implying a strong or weak negative correlation with current inflation rate and (ii) anticipated (and hence smoothed) loss in competitiveness and boom-bust cycle. In a 2-region 2-sector New Keynesian DSGE model, we apply 5 different specifications of ex ante real interest rates, based on commonly considered types of expectations: rational, adaptive, static, extrapolative and regressive, as well as their hybrids. Our simulations show that rational expectations dominate the other specifications in terms of minimizing the volatility of the most macroeconomic variables. This conclusion is generally insensitive to which group of agents (producers or consumers) and which region (home or foreign) forms the expectations. It also turns out that for some types of expectations the Walters critique indeed applies, i.e. the system does not fulfil the Blanchard-Kahn conditions or the system’s companion matrix has explosive eigenvalues.
The problem of governments’ over-indebtedness is one of the most important challenges for today’s EMU governance. As numbers suggest, the problem of extensive deficits has appeared in the EMU long before the burst of the global financial crisis. We suspect that the membership in a currency area might be partially blamed for such progression of indebtedness. This paper examines the determinants of government risk premiums in the EU Member States to answer if the risk premium assigned by the market may give currency area Member States additional incentives for profligacy. Controlling other factors, we investigate the pattern in which fiscal deficits and GDP growth affect the yield of 10-year-maturity government bonds in the euro area and the non-euro area EU Member States. Our results are straightforward. The market penalizes EU countries that do not belong to the euro area for bad economic performance and extensive deficits from 4 to 7 times stronger. Our estimates confirm the strong impact of the common credibility problem in the EMU but also support the key role of financial stress in determining the cost of government debt.
This article introduces and applies two refinements to the algorithm of solving rational expectations models of a currency union. Firstly, building upon Klein (2000), it generalizes the standard methods of solving rational expectations models to the case of time-varying nonstochastic parameters, recurring in a finite cycle. Such a specification occurs in a simple stylized New Keynesian model of the euro area after a joint introduction of (i) rotation in the ECB Governing Council (as constituted by the Treaty of Nice) and (ii) home bias in the interest rate decisions preferred by its members. Secondly, we apply the method of Christiano (2002) to solve the model with heterogenous information sets. This is justified if we argue that the information set of domestic economic agents in a currency union is home-biased (i.e. foreign shocks enter only with a lag). Both methods of solution are illustrated with simulation results.
We consider fiscal and monetary policy interactions in a monetary unionunder monetary leadership, when the common central bank is concerned with theaverage fiscal stance of the union. We use a static two-country monetary unionmodel to investigate the policy-mix problem under different regimes of non-cooperation, cooperation, and enforced cooperation among fiscal authorities.We find that fiscal policy is unambiguously countercyclical, a feature that ismore pronounced under fiscal policy cooperation. Monetary policy can be eithercountercyclical or procyclical. A central bank concerned about the aggregatefiscal stance is effective in stabilizing output and central budget, but at theexpense of inflation stabilization.