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Bankers' versus Workers' Europe (I): Asymmetric Information in EMU

Laura Bottazzi () and Paolo Manasse ()

No 127, Working Papers from IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University

Abstract: The delegation of monetary policy to a supranational central bank creates a conflict of interest between residents of different countries. For example, the country in recession may favor more inflation to boost output, while the country in boom prefers exactly the opposite.This conflict gives rise to an adverse selection problem. Provided each government has private information about the current state of the economy, it may try to exploit it in order to shift the common monetary policy to his own preferred way. The paper shows that problems of this kind can generate both an inflation and primary deficit bias (in line with the worries of Workers' Europe addressed by the "stability pact") as well as an excess monetary discipline and recession bias (in line with the worries addressed by the Bankers' Europe concern).When information problems are particularly severe, monetary and fiscal policy becomes relatively insensitive to business cycle conditions, and too little "smoothing" is done over the business cycle.

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