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From the Great Depression to Bretton Woods: Jacob Viner and International Monetary Stabilization (1930-1945)

  • Sebastiano Nerozzi

    ()

    (Università Cattolica Di Milano)

This paper examines Jacob Viner’s contribution to the debate and the policy decision making concerning international monetary policy from the Great Depression to the Bretton Woods agreements. An outstanding member of the so called “early Chicago School of Political Economy”, Viner was actively engaged in the debate over the causes and cures of the depression, emphasizing the important role international economic problems played in producing its onset and in reinforcing its duration. During the 1930’s Viner was an outspoken supporter of international monetary cooperation, set up to secure exchange rates stability, which he regarded as a paramount factor in restoring business confidence and fostering recovery. As a close assistant to Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr. Viner was able to exert a positive influence on the administration’s foreign economic policy, from the Gold Stabilization Act of 1934 to the Tripartite agreement of 1936. Though not directly involved in the Bretton Woods Conference, he played a role in preparing the ground for the establishment of multilateral agencies such as the IMF and the IBRD. By means of his unpublished papers and other archival sources, as well as his writings, we will examine Viner’s analysis of the Great Depression, his contribution to the debate over American foreign economic policy and his work as economic adviser from 1930 to 1945.

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Paper provided by Universita' degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze per l'Economia e l'Impresa in its series Working Papers - Economics with number wp2009_10.rdf.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:frz:wpaper:wp2009_10.rdf
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  1. Michael D. Bordo, 1992. "The Bretton Woods International Monetary System: An Historical Overview," NBER Working Papers 4033, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Samuelson, Paul A, 1972. "Jacob Viner, 1892-1970," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(1), pages 5-11, Jan.-Feb..
  3. Peter Temin, 1991. "Lessons from the Great Depression," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262700441, June.
  4. de Cecco Marcello, 2001. "John Maynard Keynes," Rivista di storia economica, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 3, pages 373-384.
  5. Bernanke, Ben S, 1995. "The Macroeconomics of the Great Depression: A Comparative Approach," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(1), pages 1-28, February.
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  7. David Laidler & Roger Sandilands, 2000. "An Early Harvard Memorandum on anti-Depression Policies. Introductory Note," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 20004, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  8. 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.
  9. Christina D. Romer, 1993. "The Nation in Depression," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 19-39, Spring.
  10. 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.
  11. Groenewegen, P.D., 1994. "Jacob Viner and the History of Economic Thought," Working Papers 193, University of Sydney, School of Economics.
  12. Barry J. Eichengreen & Jeffrey Sachs, 1984. "Exchange Rates and Economic Recovery in the 1930s," NBER Working Papers 1498, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Laidler, D., 1993. "Hawtrey, Harvard, and the Origins of the Chicago Tradition," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 9302, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  14. Eugene Rotwein, 1983. "Jacob Viner and the Chicago Tradition," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 15(2), pages 265-280, Summer.
  15. Boughton, James M., 2004. "New Light on Harry Dexter White," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 26(02), pages 179-195, June.
  16. Sebastiano Nerozzi, 2007. "Building up a multilateral strategy for the United States: Alvin Hansen, Jacob Viner and the Council on Foreign Relations (1939-1945)," Working Papers - Economics wp2007_08, Universita' degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze per l'Economia e l'Impresa.
  17. Ben Bemanke & Harold James, 1991. "The Gold Standard, Deflation, and Financial Crisis in the Great Depression: An International Comparison," NBER Chapters, in: Financial Markets and Financial Crises, pages 33-68 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Michael D. Bordo & Barry Eichengreen, 1993. "A Retrospective on the Bretton Woods System: Lessons for International Monetary Reform," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bord93-1, June.
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