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The Gold Standard Since Alec Ford

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  • Barry Eichengreen

Abstract

This paper surveys studies of the operation of the classical gold standard published subsequent to the appearance of Alec Ford's The Gold Standard 1880-1914: Britain and Argentina in 1962. Contributions tend to fall under two headings: those which emphasize stock equilibrium in money markets (examples of the so-called "monetary approach") and those which emphasize instead stockflow interactions in bond markets. The paper then addresses the perennial question of how the gold standard worked. A central element of my explanation for the stability of the gold standard at the center is the credibility of the official commitment to gold. Knowing that policymakers would intervene in defense of the gold standard, markets responded in the same direction in anticipation of official action. Hence the need for actual intervention was minimized. Credibility derived from the fact that the commitment to the gold standard was international. Central banks like the Bank of England could rely on foreign assistance in times of exceptional stress. Again, the need for actual assistance was minimized because the commitment to offer it was fully credible. Thus, international cooperation is a central element of my explanation of how the classical gold standard worked.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3122.

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Date of creation: Sep 1989
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Publication status: published as Capital, Labor and Gold: Essays in Honor of Alec Ford; Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1992
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3122

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Cited by:
  1. Maurice Obstfeld, 1993. "The Adjustment Mechanism," NBER Chapters, in: A Retrospective on the Bretton Woods System: Lessons for International Monetary Reform, pages 201-268 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Michael D. Bordo & Finn E. Kydland, 1992. "The gold standard as a rule," Working Paper 9205, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  3. Bayoumi, Tamim & Bordo, Michael D, 1996. "Getting Pegged: Comparing the 1879 and 1925 Gold Resumptions," CEPR Discussion Papers 1390, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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