The calculus of international currency use

The special role of the US dollar in the international monetary system has fascinated politicians, economists, journalists and indeed members of the general public. Charles de Gaulle famously complained about "the exorbitant privilege" associated with the role of the dollar as a reserve currency and others have spoken about the "hegemony of the dollar" to conjure up notions of power and control related to the widespread use of the dollar in international transactions.1

When the euro was introduc