All about metal by Norman Colton

By Norman Colton

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Given their divergent preferences and the market’s lack of confidence in the monetary union, the authorities decided in favor of monetary separation. The demise of the monetary union was announced on February 2, just five weeks after it had commenced operation, and separate national currencies were quickly introduced. Czechoslovak banknotes were 22. See Fidrmuc, Horvath, and Fidrmuc (1999). 23. Under the provisions of the agreement, the Czechoslovak central bank was dissolved and replaced by a Czech National Bank and a National Bank of Slovakia.

My own scheme for reform is as follows. The rationale for the pact is that deficits today may imply deficits tomorrow and that chronic deficits will force the ECB to provide an inflationary debt bailout. But not all deficits are equally persistent. Chronic deficits are a danger only where countries fail to reform their fiscal institutions. Countries with large unfunded pension liabilities, such as Greece and Spain, will almost certainly have deficits down the road. Where workers are allowed to draw unemployment and disability benefits indefinitely, deficits today signal deficits tomorrow.

31 The authors follow Von Hagen (1992) in arguing that deficit bias reflects a common-pool problem: special interests benefiting from additional public spending fail to internalize the implications for the deficit and therefore for the government’s borrowing costs. They argue that this bias can be minimized by assigning authority over the budget to a single individual, the finance minister, who will have a greater tendency to internalize such effects. They operationalize this idea by constructing an index measuring the ability of the finance minister to affect the budget.

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