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Discount rate policy under the Classical Gold Standard: Core versus periphery (1870s–1914)

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  • Morys, Matthias

Abstract

Drawing on a new data set of monthly observations, this paper investigates similarities and differences in the discount rate policy of 12 European countries under the Classical Gold Standard. It asks, in particular, whether the bank rate policy followed different patterns in core and peripheral countries. Based on OLS, ordered probit and pooled estimations of central bank discount rate behaviour, two main findings emerge: firstly, the discount rate decisions of core countries were motivated by a desire to keep the exchange-rate within the gold points. In stark contrast, the discount rate decisions of peripheral countries reflected changes in the domestic cover ratio. The main reason for the difference in behaviour was the limited effectiveness of the discount rate tool for peripheral countries, which resulted in more frequent gold point violations. Consequently, peripheral countries relied on high reserve levels and oriented their discount rate policy towards maintaining the reserve level. Secondly, interest rate decisions were influenced by Berlin and London to a similar degree, suggesting that the European branch of the Classical Gold Standard was less London-centred than had been hitherto assumed. In establishing general patterns of discount rate policy, this paper aims to contribute to the wider discussion on monetary policy under the gold standard and the core–periphery dichotomy.

Suggested Citation

  • Morys, Matthias, 2013. "Discount rate policy under the Classical Gold Standard: Core versus periphery (1870s–1914)," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 205-226.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:50:y:2013:i:2:p:205-226
    DOI: 10.1016/j.eeh.2012.12.003
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Monnet, Eric, 2019. "Interest rates," CEPR Discussion Papers 13896, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Kramer, Bert S. & Milionis, Petros, 2018. "Democratic Constraints and Adherence to the Classical Gold Standard," GGDC Research Memorandum GD-175, Groningen Growth and Development Centre, University of Groningen.
    3. Matthias Morys, 2015. "Any lessons for today? Exchange-rate stabilisation in Greece and South-East Europe between economic and political objectives and fiscal reality, 1841-1939," Working Papers 0084, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    4. Lennard, Jason, 2018. "Did monetary policy matter? Narrative evidence from the classical gold standard," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 16-36.
    5. Matthias Morys, 2016. "Financial supervision to fight fiscal dominance? The gold standard in Greece and South-East Europe between economic and political objectives and fiscal reality, 1841-1939," Discussion Papers 16/05, Department of Economics, University of York.
    6. Dwarkasing, N.R.D., 2014. "Essays on historical banking," Other publications TiSEM c101ecf0-6709-4fb7-a27a-4, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    7. G. Bazot & M. D. Bordo & E. Monnet, 2014. "The Price of Stability. The balance sheet policy of the Banque de France and the Gold Standard (1880-1914)," Working papers 510, Banque de France.
    8. Chen, Yao & Ward, Felix, 2019. "When do fixed exchange rates work? Evidence from the Gold Standard," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 158-172.
    9. Matthias Morys & Martin Ivanov, 2013. "The emergence of a European region: Business cycles in South-East Europe from political independence to World War II," Centre for Historical Economics and Related Research at York (CHERRY) Discussion Papers 13/01, CHERRY, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    10. Matthias Morys, 2015. "Any lessons for today? Exchange-rate stabilisation in Greece and South-East Europe between economic and political objectives and fiscal reality, 1841-1939," Centre for Historical Economics and Related Research at York (CHERRY) Discussion Papers 15/01, CHERRY, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    11. Bazot, Guillaume & Monnet, Eric & Morys, Matthias, 2019. "Taming the Global Financial Cycle: Central Banks and the Sterilization of Capital Flows in the First Era of Globalization (1891-1913)," CEPR Discussion Papers 13895, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    12. Matthias Morys, 2016. "Any lessons for today? Exchange-rate stabilisation in Greece and South-East Europe between economic and political objectives and fiscal reality, 1841-1939," Working Papers 16017, Economic History Society.
    13. Sabaté, Marcela & Fillat, Carmen & Escario, Regina, 2019. "Budget deficits and money creation: Exploring their relation before Bretton Woods," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 38-56.
    14. Bazot, Guillaume & Bordo, Michael D. & Monnet, Eric, 2016. "International shocks and the balance sheet of the Bank of France under the classical gold standard," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 87-107.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Gold standard; Central bank reaction function; Rules of the game; Balance-of-payments adjustment; Central banking;

    JEL classification:

    • E4 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates
    • E5 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit
    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook
    • F3 - International Economics - - International Finance
    • N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N23 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - Europe: Pre-1913

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