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The Role of International Organizations in the Bretton Woods System

In: A Retrospective on the Bretton Woods System: Lessons for International Monetary Reform

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  • Kathryn M.E. Dominguez

Abstract

This paper examines the roles played by organizations in maintaining the Bretton Woods System. Theory indicates that even if countries understand that cooperation will lead them to a Pareto superior outcome, they need not cooperate unless they are convinced that other countries are also committed to doing so. In this context international organizations can facilitate cooperation by serving as commitment mechanisms. Cooperation in the Bretton Woods System involved the maintenance of stable exchange rates and unrestricted trade among member countries. The commitment mechanisms that the Bretton Woods Institutions provided member countries included: rules of cooperation, financial resources to enable them to play by the rules, and a centralized source of information on each others' commitment to the rules. Post-war history suggests that information monitoring and sharing has been a relatively effective commitment mechanism for international organizations.
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Suggested Citation

  • Kathryn M.E. Dominguez, 1993. "The Role of International Organizations in the Bretton Woods System," NBER Chapters,in: A Retrospective on the Bretton Woods System: Lessons for International Monetary Reform, pages 357-404 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:6874
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    Cited by:

    1. Michael D. Bordo & Barry Eichengreen, 1998. "Implications of the Great Depression for the Development of the International Monetary System," NBER Chapters,in: The Defining Moment: The Great Depression and the American Economy in the Twentieth Century, pages 403-454 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Eugene N. White & Michael D. Bordo & Dominique Simard, 1996. "An Overplayed Hand: France and the Bretton Woods International Monetary System," Departmental Working Papers 199420, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
    3. Anne O. Krueger, 1998. "Whither the World Bank and the IMF?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(4), pages 1983-2020, December.

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