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  • 1 University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro (UTAD), Quinta de Prados, Vila Real, Portugal
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Business cycle synchronisation and the similarity in the sectoral structure of exports are key conditions for the successful implementation of common monetary policy, as shown by the theory of Optimum Currency Areas. This paper examines the degree of correlation between the aggregate euro area and 12 member states’ business cycles and the role of their exports specialisation dynamics vis-à-vis the euro area over the period 1981–2012, focusing in particular on Southern European countries. Overall, we find that since the inception of the European Monetary Union, the business cycles of euro area member states have been increasingly synchronised with the aggregate euro area cycle, with the exception of Greece. We also document that changes in the Greek, Portuguese, and Spanish export structures brought these countries closer to the euro area structure as a whole. Furthermore, we find a positive and significant relationship between the similarity of export structures and GDP cyclical correlations.

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