The Rise and Fall of the Dollar, or When Did the Dollar Replace Sterling as the Leading International Currency?
AbstractWe present new evidence on the currency composition of foreign exchange reserves in the 1920s and 1930s. Contrary to the presumption that the pound sterling continued to dominate the U.S. dollar in central bank reserves until after World War II, we show that the dollar first overtook sterling in the mid-1920s. This suggests that the network effects thought to lend inertia to international currency status and to create incumbency advantages for the dominant international currency do not apply in the reserve currency domain. Our new evidence is similarly incompatible with the notion that there is only room in the market for one dominant reserve currency at a point in time. Our findings have important implications for our understanding of interwar monetary history but also for the prospects of the dollar and the euro as reserve currencies.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14154.
Date of creation: Jul 2008
Date of revision:
Note: DAE IFM
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- F0 - International Economics - - General
- F33 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Monetary Arrangements and Institutions
- N1 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations
- N2 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2008-07-14 (All new papers)
- NEP-CBA-2008-07-14 (Central Banking)
- NEP-HIS-2008-07-14 (Business, Economic & Financial History)
- NEP-IFN-2008-07-14 (International Finance)
- NEP-MON-2008-07-14 (Monetary Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Paul R. Krugman, 1979.
"Vehicle Currencies And the Structure Of International Exchange,"
NBER Working Papers
0333, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Krugman, Paul, 1980. "Vehicle Currencies and the Structure of International Exchange," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 12(3), pages 513-26, August.
- Barry Eichengreen, 2010.
"Global Imbalances and the Lessons of Bretton Woods,"
MIT Press Books,
The MIT Press,
edition 1, volume 1, number 0262514141, June.
- Barry Eichengreen, 2006. "Global Imbalances and the Lessons of Bretton Woods," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262050846, June.
- Barry Eichengreen, 2005. "Global imbalances and the lessons of Bretton Woods," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Feb.
- Barry Eichengreen, 2004. "Global Imbalances and the Lessons of Bretton Woods," Economie Internationale, CEPII research center, issue 100, pages 39-50.
- Barry Eichengreen, 2004. "Global Imbalances and the Lessons of Bretton Woods," NBER Working Papers 10497, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Menzie D. Chinn & Jeffrey A. Frankel, 2008.
"The Euro May Over the Next 15 Years Surpass the Dollar as Leading International Currency,"
NBER Working Papers
13909, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
- Flandreau, Marc & Sussman, Nathan, 2004. "Old Sins: Exchange Rate Clauses and European Foreign Lending in the 19th Century," CEPR Discussion Papers 4248, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- FFF1Alexander A. NNN1Weinreb, 2003. "Change and instability," Demographic Research Special Collections, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 1(12), pages 373-396, September.
- Paul R. Krugman, 1984. "The International Role of the Dollar: Theory and Prospect," NBER Chapters, in: Exchange Rate Theory and Practice, pages 261-278 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Robert A. Mundell, 2000.
"A Reconsideration of the Twentieth Century,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 327-340, June.
- Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro & Wright, Randall, 1989. "On Money as a Medium of Exchange," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 927-54, August.
- Eichengreen, Barry & Sachs, Jeffrey, 1985.
"Exchange Rates and Economic Recovery in the 1930s,"
The Journal of Economic History,
Cambridge University Press, vol. 45(04), pages 925-946, December.
- Choudhri, Ehsan U & Kochin, Levis A, 1980. "The Exchange Rate and the International Transmission of Business Cycle Disturbances: Some Evidence from the Great Depression," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 12(4), pages 565-74, November.
- Eichengreen, Barry & Sachs, Jeffrey, 1986. "Competitive devaluation and the Great Depression : A theoretical reassessment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 67-71.
- 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.
- Arvind Subramanian, 2011. "Renminbi Rules: The Conditional Imminence of the Reserve Currency Transition," Working Paper Series WP11-14, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
- Samar Maziad & Joong Shik Kang, 2012. "RMB Internationalization: Onshore/Offshore Links," IMF Working Papers 12/133, International Monetary Fund.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.