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Was Adherence to the Gold Standard a "Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval" During the Interwar Period?

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  • Michael Bordo
  • Michael Edelstein

Abstract

World War I dramatically altered the world's financial landscape. Most countries left the gold standard, and New York replaced London as the major lender in world capital markets. This paper discusses how the gold exchange standard was reconstructed in the 1920s. We show that the U.S. capital market viewed returning to the gold standard as a signal of financial rectitude, what we have referred to in other work as a 'Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.' When countries returned to gold, especially when they did so at the prewar parity, they were rewarded with the ability to borrow at substantially lower interest rates. Other signals of financial rectitude, such as small fiscal deficits, apparently carried little weight with lenders.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7186.

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Date of creation: Jun 1999
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Publication status: published as Engerman, Stanley L., Philip T. Hoffman, Jean-Laurent Rosenthal, and Kenneth Sokoloff (eds.) Finance, Intermediaries, and Economic Development. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7186

Note: DAE ME
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  1. Hugh Rockoff & Michael D. Bordo, 1996. "The Gold Standard as a "Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval"," Departmental Working Papers 199528, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  2. 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.
  3. Michael D. Bordo & Barry Eichengreen, 1998. "The Rise and Fall of a Barbarous Relic: The Role of Gold in the International Monetary SYstem," NBER Working Papers 6436, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Michael D. Bordo, 1992. "The Bretton Woods International Monetary System: An Historical Overview," NBER Working Papers 4033, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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