As cross-border transactions and economic integration among nations have increased, formerly neglected differences among the domestic economic policies of nations have become progressively exposed to international scrutiny. National governments trying to pursue autonomous polices have found their decisions more difficult and the consequences of their decisions more uncertain. These trends have in turn provoked debate about whether governments should cooperate more fully when making their policy decisions.In this book, part of the Integrating National Economies series, Ralph A. Bryant considers how much national governments might benefit from coordination of their macroeconomic stabilization polices, the circumstances in which they might cooperation; and how ambitious that cooperation should be.Bryant argues that the potential benefits of attempted coordination are often greater than the potential risks. When national decisionmakers take into account the cross-border spillovers of their actions, and especially if the are prepared to consider mutually beneficial adjustments of their policy instruments, each cooperating nation may be able to attain higher levels of welfare. Bryant discusses circumstances in which efforts to coordinate could prove counterproductive. On the whole, however, he contends that efforts to coordinate policies internationally typically deserve examination and, frequently, can be expected to advance the common interests of nations' citizens.Bryant identifies and analyzes different forms of intergovernmental cooperation for monetary, fiscal, and exchange rate policies. One of the contributors of the book compares and evaluates three different analytical perspectives: the traditional policy-optimization approach favored by economists, the rule analysis of international regime environments, and the institutional analysis developed by scholars of international relations and political science. The book concludes with an overview of historical experience and practical recommendations for the medium-run and long-run evolution of international macroeconomic cooperation.
Ralph C. Bryant is a senior fellow and the Edward M. Bernstein Scholar in the Economic Studies program at the Brookings Institution. He has written numerous books and articles, including Turbulent Waters (2003).