The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether the proposed eco currency union has sufficient business cycle synchronization among its members to avoid problems such as those experienced in the last several years by countries in the eurozone. This monetary union would potentially include 18 countries – Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo – which collectively have a GDP of over 744 billion dollars and a population of over 300 million people.
The authors will apply some recently created econometric tools that were developed specifically to investigate business cycle synchronization in the eurozone. These tools – denoted synchronicity and similarity – overcome some of the limitations of previous studies which have used vector autoregressions and suffered simultaneity bias as a result.
The different measures employed suggest that the potential members of the eco exhibit a very low level of synchronization. Nigeria in particular, which is heavily dependent on oil, as are some, but not all potential members, would be the largest member, and exhibits a very low level of synchronization with other prospective eco member nations. Finally, preliminary evidence from several countries which have joined the existing African currency unions does not indicate that the act of joining a currency union improves synchronization, and this result contradicts the “endogenous optimal currency area” hypothesis.
Like previous studies on the topic, the authors rely on the available data. The number of observations is more limited than would be optimal.
The results would strongly caution against the creation of the eco currency union, as members appear even less ready for monetary integration than countries in the eurozone did.
This is the first study to apply the synchronicity and similarity tools to the prospective West African eco nations.
Miles, W. (2017), "How feasible is the West African eco currency union? An investigation using synchronicity and similarity measures", Journal of Economic Studies, Vol. 44 No. 4, pp. 650-664. https://doi.org/10.1108/JES-01-2016-0008Download as .RIS
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