April 22, 2005 Recent evidence indicates that the intensity of economic exchange within and across borders is significantly different: linkages are much tighter within, than among, nation-states. These findings, however, do not necessarily imply that borders and separate national currencies represent significant barriers to trade that should be removed, since the evidence is also consistent with the alternative hypothesis, that domestic exchange is more efficient because domestic producers are better able to satisfy the requirements of local consumers, owing to common tastes and institutions and the existence of local information and social networks. Focusing primarily on trade linkages within and between Canada and the United States, the authors review the evidence on the extent to which national borders lessen the intensity of international economic linkages, primarily trade in goods and services, and the effects on domestic welfare. They also examine the evidence on the impact of common currencies on trade and welfare. They determine that, since the empirical models employed to date in this research cannot distinguish between alternative explanations of the evidence, it is not yet possible to draw firm conclusions for policy-making.
April 20, 2005 The Bank of Canada's 2004 research conference examined the real and financial linkages between the Canadian economy and the economies in the rest of the world. Although Canada has profited enormously from its openness to international trade in goods, services, and financial assets, many of the most significant shocks to the Canadian economy in recent years have come from abroad. For these reasons, understanding the extent and nature of the external linkages, their implications for the Canadian economy, and the process by which the Canadian economy adjusts to external shocks is of critical importance both for monetary policy and for monitoring the financial system. This article describes the purpose of the conference—to deepen economists' understanding of these important issues—and provides highlights of the papers presented in each of the five sessions, as well as summaries of the keynote lecture and the discussion of the policy panel.