Common currency and economic integration in mercosur
LUIZ CARLOS, BRESSER-PEREIRA
Latin America has a long history of attempts to achieve regional integration, yetsuccess has been modest. This paper contends that this is essentially due not so much toprotectionist practices in the various countries, but to the lack of a common currency, or, atleast, of a tightly managed exchange rate band. We reviewed the optimum currency areacriteria that indicate it is prudent to increase economic integration before attempting toestablish exchange rates coordination. Yet, we show that in the Mercosul there are already theminimal requirements to work on this direction. Diminishing exchange rate instability couldencourage trade and investment flows across Latin American economies. We also performed asimplified exercise to understand how feasible would be the efforts to achieve exchange rateparity stability in the two larger economies in the region (Brazil and Argentina) and stepforward toward adopting a common currency.
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