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Threat of a capital levy, expected devaluation and interest rates in France during the interwar period

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  • Hautcoeur, P. C.
  • Sicsic, P.

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to isolate and measure the respective importance of political and economic aspects in two critical episodes of the French interwar period: the stabilization process of the mid-1920s and the reluctance to abandon the gold standard during the 1930s. We do this by separating expectations of taxation and of devaluation that are implicitly included in the prices of various categories of French bonds. About the 1924-26 crisis, we show first that there was no expectation of a government default; second that a substantial part of the high level of interest rate in 1925 can be explained by expectations of a capital levy or other taxation devices; third that hyperinflation was not expected even at the moment of maximum price rise since implied five years interest rate was lower than 20% and since the expected value of the franc was not as low as the spot one. For the 1930s, we show that expectations of a depreciation of the franc explain the rise in interest rates, so that no independent effect of fiscal policy was expected.

Suggested Citation

  • Hautcoeur, P. C. & Sicsic, P., 1998. "Threat of a capital levy, expected devaluation and interest rates in France during the interwar period," DELTA Working Papers 98-01, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  • Handle: RePEc:del:abcdef:98-01
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Cecchetti, Stephen G, 1988. "The Case of the Negative Nominal Interest Rates: New Estimates of the Term Structure of Interest Rates during the Great Depression," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(6), pages 1111-1141, December.
    2. Sicsic, Pierre, 1992. "Was the franc poincare deliberately undervalued?," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 69-92, January.
    3. Baum, Christopher F & Thies, Clifford F, 1992. "On the Construction of Monthly Term Structures of U.S. Interest Rates, 1919-1930," Computer Science in Economics & Management, Kluwer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 5(3), pages 221-246, August.
    4. Prati, Alessandro, 1991. "Poincare's stabilization : Stopping a run on government debt," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 213-239, April.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Did nominal interest rates fail to spike during the run on the Franc?
      by Jeremie Cohen-Setton in Noahpinion on 2013-10-29 09:29:00

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Giovanni B. Pittaluga & Elena Seghezza, 2012. "The role of Rentiers in the stabilization processes of the 1920s," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(2), pages 188-210, May.
    2. Seghezza, Elena & Morelli, Pierluigi, 2014. "Conflict inflation and delayed stabilization," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 39(PA), pages 171-184.
    3. Paul Hallwood & Ronald MacDonald & Ian Marsh, 2011. "Remilitarization and the End of the Gold Bloc in 1936," De Economist, Springer, vol. 159(3), pages 305-321, September.
    4. Raphaël Hekimian, 2017. "The French banking sector during the interwar: What lessons can be drawn from the stock market?," EconomiX Working Papers 2017-3, University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX.
    5. Farquet, Christophe, 2016. "Explaining the failure of international tax regulations throughout the 20th century," Working Papers unige:88348, University of Geneva, Paul Bairoch Institute of Economic History.
    6. Michael D. Bordo & Pierre-Cyrille Hautcoeur, 2003. "Why didn't France follow the British Stabilization after World War One ?," DELTA Working Papers 2003-15, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
    7. Ritschl, Albrecht & Straumann, Tobias, 2009. "Business cycles and economic policy, 1914-1945: a survey," Economic History Working Papers 22402, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
    8. Christoph Farquet, 2012. "The Rise Of The Swiss Tax Haven In The Interwar Period: An International Comparison," Working Papers 0027, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    9. Ritschl, Albrecht, 2012. "The German Transfer Problem, 1920-1933: A Sovereign Debt Perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 9062, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E43 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects
    • N14 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: 1913-
    • N24 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - Europe: 1913-

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