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International Monetary Relations: Taking Finance Seriously

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  • Maurice Obstfeld
  • Alan M. Taylor

Abstract

In this essay, we highlight the interactions of the international monetary system with financial conditions, not just with the output, inflation, and balance of payments goals usually discussed. We review how financial conditions and outright financial crises have posed difficulties for each of the main international monetary systems in the last 150 years or so: the gold standard, the interwar period, the Bretton Woods system, and the current system of floating exchange rates. We argue that even as the world economy has evolved and sentiments have shifted among widely different policy regimes, there remain three fundamental challenges for any international monetary and financial system: How should exchange rates between national currencies be determined? How can countries with balance of payments deficits reduce these without sharply contracting their economies and with minimal risk of possible negative spillovers abroad? How can the international system ensure that countries have access to an adequate supply of international liquidity—financial resources generally acceptable to foreigners in all circumstances? In concluding, we evaluate how the current international monetary system answers these questions.

Suggested Citation

  • Maurice Obstfeld & Alan M. Taylor, 2017. "International Monetary Relations: Taking Finance Seriously," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 31(3), pages 3-28, Summer.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:31:y:2017:i:3:p:3-28
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.31.3.3
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:bis:bisbps:95 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Monica Hernandez, 2017. "An Unintended Consequence of Uncoordinated International Monetary Policy on Central America," Working Papers 1728, New School for Social Research, Department of Economics.
    3. Edward Nelson, 2017. "The Continuing Validity of Monetary Policy Autonomy Under Floating Exchange Rates," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2017-112, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    4. Andersson, Fredrik N. G. & Jonung, Lars, 2018. "Lessons for Iceland from the Monetary Policy of Sweden," Working Papers 2018:16, Lund University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E42 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Monetary Sytsems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • F31 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Exchange
    • F32 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements
    • F33 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Monetary Arrangements and Institutions

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