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"Water Seeks a Level": Modeling Bimetallic Exchange Rates and the Bimetallic Band

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  • Flandreau, Marc R

Abstract

Arbitrage costs are usually treated as a mere footnote in formal analyses of bimetallism. At the same time, recent empirical research has demonstrated their key importance, since they produced a "bimetallic band". This paper provides the first model of bimetallism that takes this explicitly into account and uses it to explain a number of stylized features of the French bimetallic experience 1850-1870. First, the model explains the association between the location of the price ratio within its band and the nature (either cross or joint) of specie flows. Second, it explains the correlation between bimetallic exchange rates and the bimetallic ratio. And third, it explains the two-humps distribution of the bimetallic ratio. This analysis leads to a reconsideration of bimetallism: the fluctuations of the price ratio are no longer evidence of the collapse of bimetallism, but are part of the normal functioning of a bimetallic system.

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  • Flandreau, Marc R, 2002. ""Water Seeks a Level": Modeling Bimetallic Exchange Rates and the Bimetallic Band," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 34(2), pages 491-519, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:mcb:jmoncb:v:34:y:2002:i:2:p:491-519
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kreps, David M., 1990. "Game Theory and Economic Modelling," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198283812.
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    11. Dumas, Bernard, 1992. "Dynamic Equilibrium and the Real Exchange Rate in a Spatially Separated World," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 5(2), pages 153-180.
    12. Flandreau, Marc, 1996. "Adjusting to the Gold Rush: Endogenous Bullion Points and the French Balance of Payments 1846-1870," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 417-439, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Volckart, Oliver, 2018. "Technologies of money in the Middle Ages: the 'Principles of Minting'," Economic History Working Papers 87152, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
    2. Flandreau, Marc & Sussman, Nathan, 2004. "Old Sins: Exchange Rate Clauses and European Foreign Lending in the 19th Century," CEPR Discussion Papers 4248, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Marc Flandreau & Kim Oosterlinck, 2011. "Was the Emergence of the International Gold Standard Expected? Melodramatic Evidence from Indian Government Securities," Working Papers 0005, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    4. Marc Flandreau & Nathan Sussman, 2004. "Old sins. Exchange Clauses and European Foreign Lending in the 19th Century," Working Papers hal-01065494, HAL.
    5. Esteves, Rui Pedro & Reis, Jaime & Ferramosca, Fabiano, 2009. "Market Integration in the Golden Periphery. The Lisbon/London Exchange, 1854-1891," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 324-345, July.
    6. Peter Kugler, 2011. "Financial Market Integration in Late Medieval Europe: Results from a Threshold Error Correction Model for the Rhinegulden and Basle Pound 1365-1429," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 147(III), pages 337-352, September.
    7. Flandreau, Marc & Oosterlinck, Kim, 2012. "Was the emergence of the international gold standard expected? Evidence from Indian Government securities," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(7), pages 649-669.
    8. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/324 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Volckart, Oliver, 2015. "Power politics and princely debts: why Germany’s common currency failed, 1549-1556," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 64496, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.

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