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How to Run a Target Zone? Age Old Lessons from an Austro-Hungarian Experiment

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  • Marc Flandreau
  • John Komlos

Abstract

This paper considers what we argue was the first experiment of an exchangerate band. This experiment took place in Austria-Hungary between 1896 and1914. The rationale for introducing this policy rested on precisely thoseintuitions that modern target zone literature has recently emphasized: theband was designed to secure both exchange rate stability and monetarypolicy autonomy. However, unlike more recent experiences, such as theERM, this policy was not undermined by credibility problems. In other wordsthe episode provides us with an ideal testing ground for some importantideas in modern macroeconomics: specifically, can formal rules, whenfaithfully adhered to, provide policy makers with some advantages such asshort term flexibility? First, we find that a credible band has a“microeconomic” influence on exchange rate stability. By reducinguncertainty, a credible fluctuation band improves the quality of expectations,a channel that has been neglected in the modern literature. Second, weshow that the standard test of the basic target zone model is flawed anddevelop an alternative methodology. This enables us to understand whyAustro-Hungarian policy makers were so upbeat about the merits ofexchange rate target zones. We believe that these findings shed a new lighton the economics of exchange rate bands.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 556.

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Date of creation: 2001
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_556

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  1. Bordo, Michael D. & MacDonald, Ronald, 2003. "The inter-war gold exchange standard: credibility and monetary independence," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 1-32, February.
  2. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/622 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Michael D. Bordo & Marc Flandreau, 2001. "Core, Periphery, Exchange Rate Regimes, and Globalization," NBER Working Papers 8584, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Mark Blaug, 2001. "No History of Ideas, Please, We're Economists," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(1), pages 145-164, Winter.
  5. Koppl, Roger & Yeager, Leland B., 1996. "Big Players and Herding in Asset Markets: The Case of the Russian Ruble," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 367-383, July.
  6. Svensson, L.E.O., 1992. "Why Exchange Rate Bands? Monetary Independence in Spite of Fixed Exchange Rates," Papers 521, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  7. Paul Hallwood, C. & MacDonald, Ronald & Marsh, Ian W., 2000. "Realignment expectations and the US dollar, 1890-1897: Was there a 'Peso problem'?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 605-620, December.
  8. Michael D. Bordo & Ronald MacDonald, 1997. "Violations of the `Rules of the Game' and the Credibility of the Classical Gold Standard, 1880-1914," NBER Working Papers 6115, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Lars E. O. Svensson, 1992. "An Interpretation of Recent Research on Exchange Rate Target Zones," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(4), pages 119-144, Fall.
  10. Officer,Lawrence H., 2007. "Between the Dollar-Sterling Gold Points," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521038218, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Flandreau, Marc, 2003. "Crises and Punishment: Moral Hazard and the Pre-1914 International Financial Architecture," CEPR Discussion Papers 3742, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. António Portugal Duarte & João Sousa Andrade & Adelaide Duarte, 2013. "Exchange Rate Target Zones: A Survey Of The Literature," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(2), pages 247-268, 04.
  3. Komlos, John & Flandreau, Marc, 2002. "Using ARIMA Forecasts to Explore the Efficiency of the Forward Reichsmark Market," Discussion Papers in Economics 8, University of Munich, Department of Economics.

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