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The Federal Reserve, the Bank of England, and the Rise of the Dollar as an International Currency, 1914-1939

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Abstract

This paper provides new evidence on the rise of the dollar as an international currency, focusing on its role in the conduct of trade and the provision of trade credit. We show that the shift to the dollar occurred much earlier than conventionally supposed: during and immediately after World War I. Not just market forces but also policy support – the Fed in its role as market maker – was important for the dollar’s overtaking of sterling as the leading international currency. On balance, this experience challenges the popular notion of international currency status as being determined mainly by market size. It suggests that the popular image of strongly increasing returns and pervasive network externalities leaving room for only one monetary technology is misleading.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies in its series IHEID Working Papers with number 16-2010.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:gii:giihei:heidwp16-2010

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Keywords: international currency; trade credit; network externalities;

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References

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  1. Stefano Battilossi, 2005. "The Determinants of Multinational Banking during the First Globalization, 1870-1914," Working Papers in Economic History wh056807, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Historia Económica e Instituciones.
  2. Chinn, Menzie & Frankel, Jeffrey, 2008. "The Euro May over the Next 15 Years Surpass the Dollar as Leading International Currency," Working Paper Series rwp08-016, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  3. Ignacio Briones & André Villela, 2006. "European Bank Penetration During The First Wave Of Globalization: Lessons From Brazil And Chile, 1878/1913," Anais do XXXIV Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 34th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 23, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
  4. Hausmann Ricardo & Panizza Ugo, 2011. "Redemption or Abstinence? Original Sin, Currency Mismatches and Counter Cyclical Policies in the New Millennium," Journal of Globalization and Development, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1), pages 1-35, August.
  5. Marc Flandreau & Clemens Jobst, 2009. "The Empirics of International Currencies: Network Externalities, History and Persistence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(537), pages 643-664, 04.
  6. Flandreau, Marc & Jobst, Clemens, 2005. "The Ties that Divide. A Network Analysis of the International Monetary System," CEPR Discussion Papers 5129, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Eichengreen, Barry & Flandreau, Marc, 2009. "The rise and fall of the dollar (or when did the dollar replace sterling as the leading reserve currency?)," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(03), pages 377-411, December.
  8. Liebowitz, S J & Margolis, Stephen E, 1990. "The Fable of the Keys," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(1), pages 1-25, April.
  9. Moulton, Brent R, 1990. "An Illustration of a Pitfall in Estimating the Effects of Aggregate Variables on Micro Unit," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(2), pages 334-38, May.
  10. Gino Cattani & Adrian E. Tschoegl, 2002. "An Evolutionary View of Internationalization: Chase Manhattan Bank, 1917 to 1996," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 02-37, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
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Cited by:
  1. Marc Flandreau & Stefano Ugolini, 2011. "Where it all began: lending of last resort and the Bank of England during the Overend-Gurney panic of 1866," Working Paper 2011/03, Norges Bank.
  2. Subacchi, Paola, 2013. "Expanding Beyond Borders: The Yen and the Yuan," ADBI Working Papers 450, Asian Development Bank Institute.
  3. Marc Flandreau & Kim Oosterlinck, 2011. "Was the Emergence of the International Gold Standard Expected? Melodramatic Evidence from Indian Government Securities," Working Papers 0005, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
  4. Michele Fratianni, 2012. "The Future International Monetary System: Dominant Currencies or Supranational Money? An Introduction," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 23(1), pages 1-12, February.
  5. Barry Eichengreen, 2013. "Does the Federal Reserve Care about the Rest of the World?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 27(4), pages 87-104, Fall.
  6. Zhang, Cathy, 2013. "An Information-Based Theory of International Currency," MPRA Paper 42114, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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