The European Monetary System and the United Kingdom

  • Graham Bird


The theory of optimum currency areas (OCAs) was discussed briefly towards the end of Chapter 7. From this discussion emerged a list of characteristics which assist in demarcating the boundaries of an OCA. Also implicit in the discussion was the question of whether a country should join a currency area by pegging the value of its currency to those of other currencies in the area, or whether it should remain outside the area and retain the freedom to operate an independent exchange-rate policy.


Exchange Rate Central Bank Fiscal Policy Foreign Exchange Market European Monetary System 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    This option was open to countries which had not participated in the ‘snake’.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Further discussion of these criteria may be found in Chapter 7 and the literature referred to there.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    The so-called Scandinavian model of inflation was built on the basis of productivity growth differentials between open and closed sectors, see, for example, Gosta Edgren, Karl-Olof Faxen and Clos-Erik Odhner, Wage Formation and the Economy (London: Allen & Unwin, 1973).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    For a catalogue of such policies see Horst lingerer, with Owen Evans and Peter Nyberg, The European Monetary System: The Experience, 1979–82, IMF Occasional Paper, 19, 1983.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    In the early 1970s, for example, only about 31 per cent of the UK’s trade was with the rest of Europe, while for some other European countries the figures were as follows: Netherlands 68 per cent; Belgium-Luxembourg 73 per cent; Ireland 74 per cent, Denmark 45 per cent, Germany, 51 per cent; Italy, 50 per cent; France, 56 per cent.Google Scholar
  6. However, it may be argued that with full participation in the EMS, the UK’s percentage of intra trade would rise as such trade would be encouraged by the fixity of exchange rates.Google Scholar
  7. 6.
    The costs of inflation are discussed concisely in Roger Bootle, ‘How Important Is It to Defeat Inflation — the Evidence’, Three Banks Review, December, 1981.Google Scholar
  8. 7.
    Just how large are the costs of operating at a non-optimal point on the Phillips curve depends on the shape of the curve. With a vertical Phillips curve there is no long-run unemployment cost associated with reducing inflation, although even here there may be significant shorter run adjustment costs. A discussion of factors influencing the shape of the Phillips curve and the related discussion of rational and adaptive expectations lies beyond the scope of this book.Google Scholar
  9. 8.
    It needs to be recognised that devaluation may itself contribute to inflation. In principle, a vicious circle can be established with inflation leading to devaluation, and devaluation causing more inflation which, in turn, leads to further devaluation. The idea of a vicious circle between inflation and devaluation is discussed briefly in Chapter 7.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Graham Bird 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Graham Bird
    • 1
  1. 1.University of SurreyUK

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