Given the diversity in the economic and financial structures across the EMU economies, these common monetary shocks can be reasonably expected to have different effects. Little is known about what differences might arise, however, given the absence of any historical experience in Europe with a common currency.

An alternative approach is to draw upon the historical experience of monetary policy's impacts on sub-national regions in the United States. Like the countries of the EMU, U.S. states and regions differ in industry mix and financial composition, while at the same time, they employ a common currency. Thus, the lessons learned from the U.S. experience provide valuable information about the potentially varied effects of a common monetary policy across EMU economies.

In this paper, the authors use earlier findings to construct an index that ranks EMU countries by their likely sensitivity to a common monetary shock. The index indicates that countries fall into one of three groups: Finland, Ireland, and Spain are likely to be most responsive to monetary policy shocks; France, Italy, and the Netherlands will have a relatively small response; and Austria, Belgium, Portugal, Germany, and Luxembourg are likely to have a response close to the EMU average.