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Currency Crisis and Unemployment: Sterling in 1931

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  • Eichengreen, Barry
  • Jeanne, Olivier

Abstract

This paper studies the role of unemployment in sterling’s inter-war experience. According to most narrative accounts, the proximate cause of the 1931 sterling crisis was a high and rising unemployment rate that placed pressure on British governments to pursue reflationary policies. We present a model which, in the spirit of the ‘second generation’ approach to currency crises, highlights the conflict between the objective of low unemployment and defence of the currency and show that it can reproduce the main features of sterling’s inter-war experience. Econometric evidence lends further support to the view that the proximate cause of the sterling crisis was the dramatic rise in unemployment caused by external deflationary forces.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 1898.

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Date of creation: Jun 1998
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:1898

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Keywords: Currency Crisis; Gold Standard; Great Depression; Sterling; Unemployment;

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References

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  1. Bernanke, Ben S & Carey, Kevin, 1996. "Nominal Wage Stickiness and Aggregate Supply in the Great Depression," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(3), pages 853-83, August.
  2. Snower,Dennis J. & Dehesa,Guillermo de la (ed.), 1997. "Unemployment Policy," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521599214, October.
  3. Nancy P. Marion & Robert P. Flood, 1998. "Perspectiveson the Recent Currency Crisis Literature," IMF Working Papers 98/130, International Monetary Fund.
  4. Alogoskoufis, George S & Smith, Ron, 1991. "The Phillips Curve, the Persistence of Inflation, and the Lucas Critique: Evidence from Exchange-Rate Regimes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1254-75, December.
  5. Maurice Obstfeld, 1984. "Rational and Self-Fulfilling Balance-of-Payments Crises," NBER Working Papers 1486, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Olivier Jeanne and Paul Masson., 1997. "Was the French Franc Crisis a Sunspot Equilibrium?," Center for International and Development Economics Research (CIDER) Working Papers C97-095, University of California at Berkeley.
  7. Robert P. Flood & Peter M. Garber, 1981. "Gold monetization and gold discipline," International Finance Discussion Papers 190, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  8. Rudger Dornbusch & Ilan Goldfajn & Rodrigo O. Valdés, 1995. "Currency Crises and Collapses," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(2), pages 219-294.
  9. Jeanne, Olivier, 1997. "Are currency crises self-fulfilling?: A test," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(3-4), pages 263-286, November.
  10. Krugman, Paul, 1979. "A Model of Balance-of-Payments Crises," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 11(3), pages 311-25, August.
  11. Miller, Marcus & Sutherland, Alan, 1994. "Speculative Anticipations of Sterling's Return to Gold: Was Keynes Wrong?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(425), pages 804-12, July.
  12. Hatton, Timothy J., 1987. "A Quarterly Model of the Labour Market in Interwar Britain," CEPR Discussion Papers 186, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Dimsdale, Nicholas H & Horsewood, Nicholas, 1995. "Fiscal Policy and Employment in Interwar Britain: Some Evidence from a New Model," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(3), pages 369-96, July.
  14. Broadberry, S N, 1983. "Unemployment in Interwar Britain: A Disequilibrium Approach," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(3), pages 463-85, November.
  15. Ben S. Bernanke & Mark Gertler, 1995. "Inside the Black Box: The Credit Channel of Monetary Policy Transmission," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 27-48, Fall.
  16. Paul Krugman, 1996. "Are Currency Crises Self-Fulfilling?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1996, Volume 11, pages 345-407 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Olivier Jeanne., 1997. "The Persistence of Unemployment Under a Fixed Exchange Rate Peg," Center for International and Development Economics Research (CIDER) Working Papers C97-093, University of California at Berkeley.
  18. Bean, Charles R, 1994. "European Unemployment: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(2), pages 573-619, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Crafts, Nicholas & Fearon, Peter, 2010. "Lessons from the 1930s' Great Depression," CEPR Discussion Papers 8057, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Eichengreen, Barry, 2003. "Three generations of crises, three generations of crisis models," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 22(7), pages 1089-1094, December.

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