Date Published:Oct 1, 2001
The process of European monetary integration varied widely among countries and over time. This paper argues that an important explanation for the evolution of European exchange rate arrangements was the sectoral impact of their expected effects on European trade and investment. In this perspective, the principal benefit of European MI was its expected easing of cross–border trade and investment within the EU, while its principal cost was the loss of national governments' ability to use currency policy to improve the competitive position of their producers. Empirical results indeed indicate that a stronger and more stable currency was associated with variables used as proxies for private economic interests — the importance of manufactured exports to the DM zone, and improvements in net exports. This suggests a powerful impact of private–interest factors in determining national currency policies.