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The Plaza Accord, 30 Years Later

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  • Frankel, Jeffrey

    (Harvard University)

Abstract

The paper reviews an event of 30 years ago from the perspective of today: a successful G-5 initiative to reverse what had been a dangerously overvalued dollar. The "Plaza Accord" is best viewed not as the precise product of the meeting on September 22, 1985, but as shorthand for a historic change in US policy that began when James Baker became Treasury Secretary in January of that year. The change had the desired effect, bringing down the dollar and reducing the trade deficit. In recent years concerted foreign exchange intervention, of the sort undertaken by the G-7 in 1985 and periodically over the subsequent decade, has died out. Indeed the G-7 in 2013, fearing "currency manipulation," specifically agreed to refrain from intervention in a sort of "anti-Plaza accord." But the day will come when coordinated foreign exchange intervention is again appropriate.

Suggested Citation

  • Frankel, Jeffrey, 2015. "The Plaza Accord, 30 Years Later," Working Paper Series 15-056, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:harjfk:15-056
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F31 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Exchange
    • F33 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Monetary Arrangements and Institutions
    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative

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