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Chicago Fed Letter, No. 146, October 1999
Is the United States an Optimal Currency Area?

This year the sound of corks popping on January 1 not only signaled the dawn of a new year but also the launch of what many have hailed as the most ambitious economic policy of the 20th century, the European Monetary Union (EMU). By joining the EMU, 11 European countries have explicitly agreed to maintain a common monetary policy for an indefinite period. As impressive as this might sound, the 50 states of the U.S. entered into a similar agreement 86 years ago, with the signing of the Federal Reserve Act by President Woodrow Wilson.

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