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Hegemonic Stability Theories of the International Monetary System

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  • Eichengreen, Barry

Abstract

Specialists in international relations have argued that international regimes operate smoothly and exhibit stability only when dominated by a single, exceptionally powerful national economy. In particular, this "theory of hegemonic stability" has been applied to the international monetary system. The maintenance of the Bretton Woods System for a quarter of a century up to 1972 is ascribed to the singular power of the United States in the postwar world, while the persistence of the classical gold standard is similarly ascribed to Britain's dominance of 19th-century financial markets. In contrast, the instability of the interwar gold-exchange standard is attributed to the absence of a hegemonic power. This paper assesses the applicability of hegemonic stability theory to international monetary relations, approaching the question from both theoretical and empirical vantage points. Theory is of some help in understanding the relatively smooth operation of the classical gold standard and the early Bretton Woods System as well as some of the difficulties of the interwar years. Much of the evidence, however, proves to be difficult to reconcile with the hegemonic stability interpretation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 193.

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Date of creation: Sep 1987
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:193

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Keywords: Bretton Woods; Gold Standard; Hegemonic Stability; Hegemony; International Monetary Relations; International Regimes;

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References

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  1. Barry Eichengreen & Richard Portes, 1987. "The Anatomy of Financial Crises," NBER Working Papers 2126, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Stein, Arthur A., 1984. "The hegemon's dilemma: Great Britain, the United States, and the international economic order," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 38(02), pages 355-386, March.
  3. McKeown, Timothy J., 1983. "Hegemonic stability theory and 19th century tariff levels in Europe," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 37(01), pages 73-91, December.
  4. Lipson, Charles, 1982. "The transformation of trade: the sources and effects of regime change," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 36(02), pages 417-455, March.
  5. Ruggie, John Gerard, 1975. "International responses to technology: Concepts and trends," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 29(03), pages 557-583, June.
  6. Barry J. Eichengreen, 1984. "International Policy Coordination in Historical Perspective: A View from the Interwar Years," NBER Working Papers 1440, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Cohen, Benjamin J., 1982. "Balance-of-payments financing: evolution of a regime," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 36(02), pages 457-478, March.
  8. Eichengreen, Barry, 1984. "Central bank cooperation under the interwar gold standard," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 64-87, January.
  9. Eichengreen, Barry & Watson, Mark W & Grossman, Richard S, 1985. "Bank Rate Policy under the Interwar Gold Standard: A Dynamic Probit Model," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 95(379), pages 725-45, September.
  10. Sachs, Jeffrey, 1986. "The Uneasy Case for Greater Exchange Rate Coordination," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 336-41, May.
  11. Lawson, Fred H., 1983. "Hegemony and the structure of international trade reassessed: a view from Arabia," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 37(02), pages 317-337, March.
  12. Hart, Jeffrey, 1976. "Three approaches to the measurement of power in international relations," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 30(02), pages 289-305, March.
  13. Cowhey, Peter F. & Long, Edward, 1983. "Testing theories of regime change: hegemonic decline or surplus capacity?," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 37(02), pages 157-188, March.
  14. Gowa, Joanne, 1984. "Hegemons, IOs, and markets: the case of the substitution account," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 38(04), pages 661-683, September.
  15. DONALD N. McCLOSKEY, 1970. "Did Victorian Britain Fail?," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 23(3), pages 446-459, December.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Devereux, Michael B. & Shi, Kang & Xu, Juanyi, 2007. "Global monetary policy under a dollar standard," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 113-132, March.
  2. Hartmann, Philipp & Issing, Otmar, 2002. "The international role of the euro," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 315-345, July.
  3. Michael D. Bordo & Finn E. Kydland, 1992. "The gold standard as a rule," Working Paper 9205, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  4. Charles Wyplosz, 1997. "EMU: Why and How It Might Happen," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(4), pages 3-21, Fall.
  5. P. Gray, 1996. "The ongoing weakening of the international financial system," Banca Nazionale del Lavoro Quarterly Review, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, vol. 49(197), pages 165-186.
  6. Pietro Alessandrini & Michele Fratianni, 2009. "Resurrecting Keynes to Stabilize the International Monetary System," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 20(3), pages 339-358, July.
  7. Barry Eichengreen, 1993. "The Endogeneity of Exchange Rate Regimes," NBER Working Papers 4361, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Agnès Bénassy-Quéré & Jean Pisani-Ferry, 2011. "Quel système monétaire international pour une économie mondiale en mutation rapide ?," Working Papers 2011-04, CEPII research center.
  9. P. Gray, 1996. "The ongoing weakening of the international financial system," BNL Quarterly Review, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, vol. 49(197), pages 165-186.
  10. Agnès Bénassy-Quéré & Jean Pisani-Ferry, 2011. "What international monetary system for a fast-changing world economy," Working Papers 518, Bruegel.
  11. Peter Mooslechner & Martin Schuerz, 1999. "International Macroeconomic Policy Coordination: Any Lessons for EMU? A Selective Survey of the Literature," Empirica, Springer, vol. 26(3), pages 171-199, September.
  12. Lin, Justin Yifu & Fardoust, Shahrokh & Rosenblatt, David, 2012. "Reform of the international monetary system : a jagged history and uncertain prospects," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6070, The World Bank.

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