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Currency Crisis and Unemployment: Sterling in 1931

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  • Eichengreen, Barry
  • Jeanne, Olivier

Abstract

This paper studies the role of unemployment in sterling’s inter-war experience. According to most narrative accounts, the proximate cause of the 1931 sterling crisis was a high and rising unemployment rate that placed pressure on British governments to pursue reflationary policies. We present a model which, in the spirit of the ‘second generation’ approach to currency crises, highlights the conflict between the objective of low unemployment and defence of the currency and show that it can reproduce the main features of sterling’s inter-war experience. Econometric evidence lends further support to the view that the proximate cause of the sterling crisis was the dramatic rise in unemployment caused by external deflationary forces.

Suggested Citation

  • Eichengreen, Barry & Jeanne, Olivier, 1998. "Currency Crisis and Unemployment: Sterling in 1931," CEPR Discussion Papers 1898, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:1898
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Remi Bazillier & Boris Najman, 2017. "Labour and Financial Crises: Is Labour Paying the Price of the Crisis?," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Association for Comparative Economic Studies, pages 55-76.
    2. Nicholas Crafts & Peter Fearon, 2010. "Lessons from the 1930s Great Depression," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(3), pages 285-317, Autumn.
    3. Eichengreen, Barry, 2003. "Three generations of crises, three generations of crisis models," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 22(7), pages 1089-1094, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Currency Crisis; Gold Standard; Great Depression; Sterling; Unemployment;

    JEL classification:

    • E5 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit
    • F4 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance
    • N1 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations

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