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Exchange Rates and Casualties During the First World War

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Abstract

I estimate a single factor model of Swiss exchange rates during World War I for five of the primary belligerents: Britain, France, Italy, Germany, and Austria-Hungary. At the outbreak of the war these nations suspended convertibility of their currencies into gold with the promise that after the war each would restore convertibility at the old par. However, once convertibility was suspended, each currency became a state-contingent claim; after the war it would pay off at (or near) the old par if the country won or pay off significantly less than par (perhaps nothing) if the country lost. The single factor extracted from the five exchange rates appears to contain information on contemporaries' expectations about the war's outcome. Innovations to the single factor are correlated with time series on soldiers killed and wounded and soldiers taken prisoner.

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File URL: http://cowles.econ.yale.edu/P/cd/d13a/d1321.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University in its series Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers with number 1321.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2001
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Journal of Monetary Economics (November 2004), 51(8): 1711-1742
Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1321

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Keywords: First World War; factor models; principal component analysis;

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  1. McCandless, George T, Jr, 1996. "Money, Expectations, and U.S. Civil War," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 661-71, June.
  2. Brown, William O. & Burdekin, Richard C. K., 2000. "Turning Points in the U.S. Civil War: A British Perspective," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(01), pages 216-231, March.
  3. Bordo Michael D. & Kydland Finn E., 1995. "The Gold Standard As a Rule: An Essay in Exploration," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 423-464, October.
  4. Barro, Robert J, 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 940-71, October.
  5. repec:cup:jechis:v:60:y:2008:i:01:p:216-231_00 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Anderson, Evan W. & McGrattan, Ellen R. & Hansen, Lars Peter & Sargent, Thomas J., 1996. "Mechanics of forming and estimating dynamic linear economies," Handbook of Computational Economics, in: H. M. Amman & D. A. Kendrick & J. Rust (ed.), Handbook of Computational Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 4, pages 171-252 Elsevier.
  7. Roll, Richard, 1972. "Interest Rates and Price Expectations During the Civil War," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 32(02), pages 476-498, June.
  8. Michael D. Bordo & Eugene N. White, 1991. "British and French Finance During the Napoleonic Wars," NBER Working Papers 3517, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Willard, Kristen L & Guinnane, Timothy W & Rosen, Harvey S, 1996. "Turning Points in the Civil War: Views from the Greenback Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 1001-18, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Tobias A. Jopp, 2014. "How did the capital market evaluate Germany’s prospects for winning World War I? Evidence from the Amsterdam market for government bonds," Working Papers 0052, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
  2. Vincent Medina & Cyr-Denis Nidier, 2003. "Pricing war within a real option framework," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(6), pages 425-435.
  3. Bryce Kanago & Ken McCormick, 2013. "The Dollar-Pound Exchange Rate During the First Nine Months of World War II," Atlantic Economic Journal, International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 41(4), pages 385-404, December.

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