What is the future of the US dollar’s role as the world’s key currency (KC)? The future of international money will be determined not only by markets but also by public policy choices, in particular the choices of the United States and other leading economic powers to encourage or discourage an international role for their respective currencies.

In the future, policy makers in the leading economic powers may be reluctant to support KC status for their currency, which could cause the world to drift towards a “leaderless currency system,” one characterized more by a widespread unwillingless to lead than growing competitive rivalries between the major powers. The consequence may be an enduring KC role for the dollar, supplemented by a modest internationalization of some other currencies and some strengthening of the International Monetary Fund’s Special Drawing Rights.

In December 2012, the Asian Development Bank, CIGI and the Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research co-hosted a conference in Hong Kong, China. The papers in this series, authored by esteemed academic and policy experts, were presented at the conference and were subsequently revised. These working papers are being published simultaneously by all three partners.