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The Trials of the Trilemma: International Finance 1870-2017

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  • Eichengreen, Barry
  • Esteves, Rui

Abstract

In this paper we survey the history of international finance spanning a century and a half. We start by characterizing capital flows in the long run, organizing our discussion around six facts relating to the volume and volatility of capital flows, measured in both net and gross terms. We then connect up the discussion with exchange rates and monetary policies. The organizing framework for this section is the macroeconomic trilemma. We describe where countries situated themselves relative to the trilemma over time and consider the political economy of their choices. Finally, we study the connections between international finance and economic and financial stability. We present consistent measures of growth and debt crises over the century and a half covered in this paper and discuss how their incidence is related to those institutional and political circumstances and, more generally, to the nature of the international monetary and financial regime.

Suggested Citation

  • Eichengreen, Barry & Esteves, Rui, 2019. "The Trials of the Trilemma: International Finance 1870-2017," CEPR Discussion Papers 13465, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:13465
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Capital Flows; financial crises; Monetary Systems;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F21 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Investment; Long-Term Capital Movements
    • F33 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Monetary Arrangements and Institutions
    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems
    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative

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