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Transfer problem dynamics: Macroeconomics of the Franco-Prussian war indemnity

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  • Devereux, Michael B.
  • Smith, Gregor W.

Abstract

We study the classic transfer problem of predicting the effects of an international transfer on the terms of trade and the current account. A two-country model with debt and capital allows for realistic features of historical transfers: they follow wartime increases in government spending and are financed partly by borrowing. The model is applied to the largest historical transfer, the Franco-Prussian War indemnity of 1871-1873. In these three years, France transferred to Germany an amount equal to 22 percent of a year¡¦s GDP. We investigate the ability of the model to account for the historical path of French GDP, terms of trade, net exports, and aggregate consumption. When combined with measured shocks to fiscal policy and productivity over the period, the model provides a very close fit to the historical sample path. This makes a strong case for the dynamic general equilibrium approach to studying the transfer problem. More generally, our results provide striking evidence of the importance of international capital markets in the nineteenth century.
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  • Devereux, Michael B. & Smith, Gregor W., 2007. "Transfer problem dynamics: Macroeconomics of the Franco-Prussian war indemnity," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(8), pages 2375-2398, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:moneco:v:54:y:2007:i:8:p:2375-2398
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    Cited by:

    1. Lewis, Frank D., 2007. "Compensation and the abandoned property of the 1948 Palestinian refugees: Assessment and implications," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 44(4), pages 523-537, October.
    2. Boileau, Martin & Normandin, Michel, 2008. "Dynamics of the current account and interest differentials," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 35-52, January.
    3. Bodenstein, Martin, 2013. "Equilibrium stability in open economy models," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 1-13.
    4. Boileau, Martin & Normandin, Michel, 2008. "Closing international real business cycle models with restricted financial markets," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 733-756, September.
    5. Martin Boileau & Michel Normandin, 2004. "The Current Account and the Interest Differential in Canada," Cahiers de recherche 0424, CIRPEE.
    6. Devereux, Michael B. & Smith, Gregor W., 2007. "Transfer problem dynamics: Macroeconomics of the Franco-Prussian war indemnity," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(8), pages 2375-2398, November.
    7. Johri, Alok & Letendre, Marc-André & Luo, Daqing, 2011. "Organizational capital and the international co-movement of investment," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 511-523.
    8. Stéphane Auray & Aurélien Eyquem, 2016. "Episodes of War and Peace in an Estimated Open Economy Model," Working Papers 2016-01, Center for Research in Economics and Statistics.
    9. International Monetary Fund, 2008. "Macroeconomic Effects of EU Transfers in New Member States," IMF Working Papers 08/223, International Monetary Fund.
    10. Pascal Towbin, 2013. "Financial Integration And External Sustainability," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(4), pages 375-395, October.
    11. Bodenstein, Martin, 2011. "Closing large open economy models," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 160-177, July.
    12. Kang, Minwook & Ye, Lei Sandy, 2016. "Advantageous redistribution with three smooth CES utility functions," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 171-180.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F32 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics
    • N14 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: 1913-

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