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Historical experiences in the formation of optimum monetary areas

11th National Competition for Economic Research Grants

Economic history

Senior Researcher : Markus Lampe

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Research Centre or Institution : Universidad Carlos III de Madrid.


The efficiency of monetary unions has been a controversial research subject widely discussed in the literature on economic growth. At present, the problems in the European Union deriving from the establishment of the single currency are, without a doubt, one of the main challenges facing not only the European economies but also the entire international economic system. Thanks to the collation of new databases and the use of advanced empirical methods, this project will evaluate the functioning of different monetary unions in accordance with the requirements identified by the literature as necessary for the correct functioning of an optimal monetary union.

For this, the research team (Eva Fernández García, Pilar Nogués-Marco, Markus Lampe and Carlos Santiago-Caballero) will study four cases: (a) analysis of the integration of markets in Spain in the middle of the 18th century, which, according to some authors, was when Spain began to become an economy with a considerable degree of economic integration; (b) the integration of the financial markets in Spain from the end of the 18th century through to the establishment of the network of offices of the Bank of Spain at the end of the 19th century; (c) the effect of the US monetary union (complete from 1865) on the levels and convergence of agricultural productivity between 1840 and 1950; (d) the integration of markets between 1886 and 1931, measured by the flow of information exchanged by post in the context of the boom and crisis in the international monetary system under the gold standard.

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