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The Gibson paradox: Evidence from China


  • Cheng, Hao
  • Kesselring, Randall G.
  • Brown, Christopher R.


Recent literature has advanced the view that the Gibson paradox, or the positive correlation of the price level with nominal interest rates, is nearly always a gold standard phenomenon. We argue that the Gibson correlation is more accurately classified as a statistical artifact of commodity money systems, with the gold standard merely representing one such system. Using new evidence from Chinese monetary history, this article gives evidence that the Gibson paradox appeared during China's silver-cored metallic standard era. Estimates obtained from recursive ordinary least squares specifications and vector auto-regressions performed, using the Shanghai Yinchai Rate and the Chinese Wholesale Price Index, confirm a Gibson correlation for China during the period 1873–1924.

Suggested Citation

  • Cheng, Hao & Kesselring, Randall G. & Brown, Christopher R., 2013. "The Gibson paradox: Evidence from China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 82-93.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:chieco:v:27:y:2013:i:c:p:82-93
    DOI: 10.1016/j.chieco.2013.08.001

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Chen, Chung & Lee, Chi-Wen Jevons, 1990. "A VARMA Test on the Gibson Paradox," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(1), pages 96-107, February.
    2. Lee, Chi-Wen Jevons & Petruzzi, Christopher R, 1986. "The Gibson Paradox and the Monetary Standard," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 68(2), pages 189-196, May.
    3. Terence C. Mills, 2008. "Exploring historical economic relationships: two and a half centuries of British interest rates and inflation," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 2(3), pages 213-228, October.
    4. Paul Evans & Xiaojun Wang, 2008. "A Tale of Two Effects," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(1), pages 147-157, February.
    5. Jushan Bai & Pierre Perron, 2003. "Computation and analysis of multiple structural change models," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(1), pages 1-22.
    6. Klein, Benjamin, 1975. "Our New Monetary Standard: The Measurement and Effects of Price Uncertainty, 1880-1973," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 13(4), pages 461-484, December.
    7. Dwyer, Gerald P, Jr, 1984. "The Gibson Paradox: A Cross-Country Analysis," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 51(202), pages 109-127, May.
    8. Ibrahim, I B & Williams, Raburn M, 1978. "The Fisher Relationship under Different Monetary Standards: A Note," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 10(3), pages 363-370, August.
    9. Barsky, Robert B & Summers, Lawrence H, 1988. "Gibson's Paradox and the Gold Standard," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(3), pages 528-550, June.
    10. Benjamin Klein, 1975. "Our New Monetary Standard: The Measurement and Effects of Price Uncertainty," UCLA Economics Working Papers 062, UCLA Department of Economics.
    11. Kevin Dowd & Barry Harrison, 2000. "The Gibson paradox and the Gold Standard: evidence from the United Kingdom, 1821-1913," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(11), pages 711-713.
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    Cited by:

    1. Fedotenkov, Igor, 2015. "Population ageing and prices in an OLG model with money created by credits," MPRA Paper 66056, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    Gibson paradox; Commodity money; Gold standard; Recursive OLS; Vector autoregression;

    JEL classification:

    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • E42 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Monetary Sytsems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System
    • C20 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - General


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