The evidence presented here suggests that European Monetary System has indeed coincided with more predictable exchange rates (nominal and real) between France, Germany and Italy. But if increased monetary policy coordination is the main explanation, then it is surprising that the conditional variance of real interest differentials between these countries does not appear to have fallen (unless the disturbances are mostly real, in which case fixed rates are suboptimal). High onshore-offshore interest differentials for franc and lira assets, and the very slow convergence of intra-EMS inflation rates, suggest that capital controls have played a large role.
In recent years, many countries have instituted monetary reforms aimed at improving anti-inflation credibility. Is it a problem, however, that international welfare spillover effects seldom receive much consideration in the design of monetary reforms? Surprisingly, the answer may be no. Under plausible conditions, as domestic rules improve and international financial markets become more complete, the Nash and cooperative monetary rule setting games converge. We base our analysis on a utility-theoretic sticky-wage (new open economy macroeconomics) model; the question we pose simply could not have been adequately formulated using earlier models of monetary cooperation.
The euro has had some marked successes over its first five years included the marked deepening of euro bond markets which has benefited the entire world. But at the same time, the pain has probably outweighed the gain as Europe still remains far from an optimal currency area.