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The Price of Stability. The balance sheet policy of the Banque de France and the Gold Standard (1880-1914)

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  • G. Bazot
  • M. D. Bordo
  • E. Monnet

Abstract

Under the classical gold standard (1880-1914), the Bank of France maintained a stable discount rate while the Bank of England changed its rate very frequently. Why did the policies of these central banks, the two pillars of the gold standard, differ so much? How did the Bank of France manage to keep a stable rate and continuously violate the “rules of the game”? This paper tackles these questions and shows that the domestic asset portfolio of the Bank of France played a crucial role in smoothing international shocks and in maintaining the stability of the discount rate. This policy provides a striking example of a central bank that uses its balance sheet to block the interest rate channel and protect the domestic economy from international constraints (Mundell’s trilemma).

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:bfr:banfra:510
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Ward, Felix & Chen, Yao, 2016. "Rigid relations: External adjustment under the Gold Standard (1880-1913)," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145930, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    2. Hautcoeur, Pierre-Cyrille & Riva, Angelo & White, Eugene N., 2014. "Floating a “lifeboat”: The Banque de France and the crisis of 1889," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, pages 104-119.
    3. Donato Masciandaro, 2014. "Macroeconomic Ideas, Business Cycles and Economic Policies: One Size Doesn’t Fit All - A Primer," BAFFI CAREFIN Working Papers 14161, BAFFI CAREFIN, Centre for Applied Research on International Markets Banking Finance and Regulation, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy.
    4. 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; Bank of France; discount rate; central banking; money market.;

    JEL classification:

    • D41 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Perfect Competition
    • E30 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology

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