There are plans by five West African countries to establish a second monetary zone in the sub-region by December 2009. In this paper we ask whether a monetary union is the appropriate exchange rate regime for the sub-region based on economic criteria. We address the issue using a rigorous theoretical framework that captures the crucial trade-off between the savings in transaction costs, resulting from a common currency, and the macroeconomic stabilization benefits of a flexible exchange rate regime. The main result is that a flexible exchange rate regime dominates a monetary union in the ECOWAS sub-region.
Choice of Monetary and Exchange Regimes in ECOWAS: An Optimum Currency Area Analysis
Paper No. 2005/10 - Jul 2005