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An alternative reconsideration of macroeconomic convergence criteria for West African Monetary Zone

Balogun, Emmanuel Dele (2008): An alternative reconsideration of macroeconomic convergence criteria for West African Monetary Zone.

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Abstract

This study presents an alternative reconsideration of traditional Optimum Currency Areas (OCA) macroeconomic convergence criteria as options for West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) commencement, in the light of recent advancements in monetary theory. It presents micro-founded models, rooted in New Keynesian traditions to show that tests confirming widespread divergence from ideal macroeconomic benchmarks with unsustainable independent monetary and exchange rates pursuits and trade gravity models offer a more appropriate evaluating criterion for WAMZ than the current one, if the ultimate objective is a merger with West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU). Using econometrics methods, especially pooled single equation models applied to national macroeconomic data which span 1991Q1 to 2007Q4, I evaluate the roles of past unsustainable independent national monetary and exchange rates policy pursuits as determinants of macroeconomic stabilizations (reflected by the inflation differential and output gaps/performance vis-à-vis the WAMZ area targets) and inter/intra-regional export performance. This was accompanied by the estimation of a trade gravity model. The strong convergence of aggregate output/demand pattern between WAMZ countries based on trade gravity models thus emerges as a possible positive attribute of countries participating in efficient currency areas

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