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The Great Depression as a Watershed: International Capital Mobility over the Long Run

  • Obstfeld, Maurice
  • Taylor, Alan M.

This paper surveys the evolution of international capital mobility since the late-nineteenth century. It begins with an overview of empirical evidence on the fall and rise of integration in the global capital market. A discussion of institutional developments focuses on the use of capital controls and the pursuit of domestic macroeconomic policy objectives in the context of changing monetary regimes. A fundamental macroeconomic policy trilemma has forced policy-makers to trade off conflicting goals. The natural implication of the trilemma is that capital mobility has prevailed and expanded under circumstances of widespread political support either for an exchange rate subordinated monetary policy regime (e.g. the gold standard), or for a monetary regime geared mainly towards domestic objectives at the expense of exchange rate stability (e.g. the recent float). Through its effect on popular attitudes towards both the gold standard and the legitimate scope for government macroeconomic intervention, the Great Depression emerges as the key turning point in the recent history of international capital markets.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 1633.

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Date of creation: Apr 1997
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:1633
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  1. Obstfeld, Maurice, 1992. "The Adjustment Mechanism," CEPR Discussion Papers 648, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    • Maurice Obstfeld, 1993. "The Adjustment Mechanism," NBER Chapters, in: A Retrospective on the Bretton Woods System: Lessons for International Monetary Reform, pages 201-268 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Svensson, L.E.O., 1990. "The Simplest Test of Target Zone Credibility," Papers 469, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  3. Alberto Giovannini, 1993. "Bretton Woods and Its Precursors: Rules versus Discretion in the History of International Monetary Regimes," NBER Chapters, in: A Retrospective on the Bretton Woods System: Lessons for International Monetary Reform, pages 109-154 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1990. "Why Doesn't Capital Flow from Rich to Poor Countries?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 92-96, May.
  5. Bordo Michael D. & Kydland Finn E., 1995. "The Gold Standard As a Rule: An Essay in Exploration," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 423-464, October.
  6. Martin Feldstein & Charles Horioka, 1979. "Domestic Savings and International Capital Flows," NBER Working Papers 0310, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Alan M. Taylor, 1996. "International Capital Mobility in History: Purchasing-Power Parity in the Long Run," NBER Working Papers 5742, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Vittorio Grilli & Gian-Maria Milesi-Ferretti, 1995. "Economic Effects and Structural Determinants of Capital Controls," IMF Working Papers 95/31, International Monetary Fund.
  9. Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew Warner, 1995. "Economic Reform and the Process of Global Integration," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(1, 25th A), pages 1-118.
  10. Alesina, Alberto F & Grilli, Vittorio & Milesi-Ferretti, Gian Maria, 1993. "The Political Economy of Capital Controls," CEPR Discussion Papers 793, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Wood, Adrian, 1995. "North-South Trade, Employment and Inequality: Changing Fortunes in a Skill-Driven World," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198290155.
  12. Choudhri, Ehsan U & Kochin, Levis A, 1980. "The Exchange Rate and the International Transmission of Business Cycle Disturbances: Some Evidence from the Great Depression," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 12(4), pages 565-74, November.
  13. Takatoshi Ito, 1991. "The Japanese Economy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262090295, June.
  14. Oskar Morgenstern, 1959. "International Financial Transactions and Business Cycles," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number morg59-1, July.
  15. Michael D. Bordo, 1995. "The Gold Standard as a `Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval'," NBER Working Papers 5340, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. James D. Hamilton, 1988. "Role Of The International Gold Standard In Propagating The Great Depression," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 6(2), pages 67-89, 04.
  17. Alan M. Taylor, 1996. "International Capital Mobility in History: The Saving-Investment Relationship," NBER Working Papers 5743, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. McKinnon, Ronald I., 1979. "Money in International Exchange: The Convertible Currency System," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195024098.
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