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Helge Berger

Helge Berger is Professor and Chair of Monetary Economics at Free University Berlin and coeditor of Managing EU Enlargement (MIT Press, 2004).

Titles by This Author

Currency boards, more so than other exchange rate regimes, have come in and out of fashion. Defined by a fixed exchange rate with full convertibility, central bank liabilities backed with foreign exchange reserves, and a high cost of exiting the regime, currency boards were common in colonial times--until most were cast off as countries gained independence after World War II. In the 1990s, currency boards enjoyed a revival as the cornerstone of various macroeconomic stabilization programs--including many in central and eastern European transition economies--only to fall into disfavor again with the collapse of the Argentine regime in 2002. The authors of Currency Boards in Retrospect and Prospect take a balanced look at the effects of currency board regimes on inflation, output growth, and macroeconomic performance more generally. Drawing on historical experience, economic theory, cross-country empirical analysis, and case studies of currency boards in Argentina, Estonia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, the authors conclude that currency boards deliver significant reductions in inflation compared to other regimes and do not seem to result in slower growth or a markedly higher vulnerability to crisis. Holger C. Wolf is Associate Professor at the BMW Center for German and European Studies at Georgetown University. Atish R. Ghosh is Chief of the Policy Review Division of the Policy Development and Review Department of the International Monetary Fund. Helge Berger is Professor and Chair of Monetary Economics at Free University Berlin and coeditor of Managing EU Enlargement (MIT Press, 2004). Anne-Marie Gulde is Assistant Director of the Policy Wing of the African Department at the International Monetary Fund. Ghosh, Gulde, and Wolf are the authors of Exchange Rate Regimes: Choice and Consequences (MIT Press, 2003).

Titles by This Editor

In May 2004 the European Union will undergo the largest expansion in its history when ten countries—Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia—become members. The number of new members and their diversity make this "big bang" enlargement particularly challenging. Not only do these countries vary widely in language, culture, and geography, but also their per capita income is less than half that of existing members. EU officials believe that expanded integration will serve the EU's objectives of peace, stability, prosperity, and democracy; but the less abstract questions of costs and benefits of enlargement are more complex.

Each of the chapters in this CESifo volume addresses a different aspect of EU expansion. The contributors, all leading international practitioners and scholars, consider such topics as the effect of euro zone expansion on European Central Bank monetary policy making; using the euro as an external anchor for a national currency; worker migration and income differentials; the Swiss experience with immigration policy in a direct democracy framework; detailed sector analysis using a computable general equilibrium model of the world economy; investment and job creation and destruction in incumbent member countries; and the asymmetric effects of enlargement on high- and low-income incumbent countries. Taken together, the chapters provide useful guidance in shaping the EU policies of the future.