IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/frz/wpaper/wp2009_10.rdf.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

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

Author

Listed:
  • Sebastiano Nerozzi

    (Università Cattolica Di Milano)

Abstract

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 By means of his unpublished papers and other archival sources, as well as his writings, we will examine Viner’s analysis of the Great Depression, his contribution to the debate over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.

Suggested Citation

  • Sebastiano Nerozzi, 2009. "From the Great Depression to Bretton Woods: Jacob Viner and International Monetary Stabilization (1930-1945)," Working Papers - Economics wp2009_10.rdf, Universita' degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze per l'Economia e l'Impresa.
  • Handle: RePEc:frz:wpaper:wp2009_10.rdf
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.disei.unifi.it/upload/sub/pubblicazioni/repec/pdf/wp10_2009.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Groenewegen, Peter, 1994. "Jacob Viner and the History of Economic Thought," Contributions to Political Economy, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(0), pages 69-86.
    2. Tobin, James, 1975. "Keynesian Models of Recession and Depression," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(2), pages 195-202, May.
    3. Eugene Rotwein, 1983. "Jacob Viner and the Chicago Tradition," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 15(2), pages 265-280, Summer.
    4. Eichengreen, Barry & Sachs, Jeffrey, 1985. "Exchange Rates and Economic Recovery in the 1930s," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 45(4), pages 925-946, December.
    5. Milton Friedman & Anna J. Schwartz, 1963. "A Monetary History of the United States, 1867–1960," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie63-1, June.
    6. Groenewegen, P.D., 1994. "Jacob Viner and the History of Economic Thought," Working Papers 193, University of Sydney, School of Economics.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. Laidler, David, 1993. "Hawtrey, Harvard, and the Origins of the Chicago Tradition," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(6), pages 1068-1103, December.
    10. Robert J. Gordon & James A. Wilcox, 1978. "Monetarist Interpretations of the Great Depression: An Evaluation and Critique," NBER Working Papers 0300, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Sebastiano Nerozzi, 2009. "Jacob Viner and the Chicago Monetary Tradition," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 41(3), pages 575-604, Fall.
    12. Samuelson, Paul A, 1972. "Jacob Viner, 1892-1970," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(1), pages 5-11, Jan.-Feb..
    13. 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.
    14. G. John Ikenberry, 1993. "The Political Origins of Bretton Woods," NBER Chapters, in: A Retrospective on the Bretton Woods System: Lessons for International Monetary Reform, pages 155-198, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Eichengreen, Barry, 1996. "Golden Fetters: The Gold Standard and the Great Depression, 1919-1939," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195101133, November.
    16. Peter Temin, 1991. "Lessons from the Great Depression," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262700441, February.
    17. 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 565-574, November.
    18. Marcello de Cecco, 2001. "John Maynard Keynes," Rivista di storia economica, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 3, pages 373-384.
    19. David Laidler & Roger Sandilands, 2002. "An Early Harvard Memorandum on Anti-Depression Policies: An Introductory Note," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 34(3), pages 515-532, Fall.
    20. 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.
    21. Bloomfield, Arthur I, 1992. "On the Centenary of Jacob Viner's Birth: A Retrospective View of the Man and His Work," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(4), pages 2052-2085, December.
    22. Friedman, Milton, 1972. "Comments on the Critics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(5), pages 906-950, Sept.-Oct.
    23. Anonymous, 1965. "International Monetary Fund," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 19(4), pages 1052-1056, October.
    24. Michael D. Bordo, 1993. "The Bretton Woods International Monetary System: A Historical Overview," NBER Chapters, in: A Retrospective on the Bretton Woods System: Lessons for International Monetary Reform, pages 3-108, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    25. R. Glenn Hubbard, 1991. "Financial Markets and Financial Crises," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number glen91-1, June.
    26. Christina D. Romer, 1993. "The Nation in Depression," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 19-39, Spring.
    27. Boughton, James M., 2004. "New Light on Harry Dexter White," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 26(2), pages 179-195, June.
    28. 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, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Richard S. Grossman & Christopher M. Meissner, 2010. "International aspects of the Great Depression and the crisis of 2007: similarities, differences, and lessons," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(3), pages 318-338, Autumn.
    2. 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.
    3. Bordo, Michael D. & Schwartz, Anna J., 1999. "Monetary policy regimes and economic performance: The historical record," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 3, pages 149-234, Elsevier.
    4. Michael D. Bordo, 2017. "An Historical Perspective on the Quest for Financial Stability and the Monetary Policy Regime," NBER Working Papers 24154, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Ben S. Bernanke & Kevin Carey, 1996. "Nominal Wage Stickiness and Aggregate Supply in the Great Depression," NBER Working Papers 5439, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Maurice Obstfeld & Alan M. Taylor, 2017. "International Monetary Relations: Taking Finance Seriously," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 31(3), pages 3-28, Summer.
    7. Charles W. Calomiris & Christopher Hanes, 1994. "Historical Macroeconomics and American Macroeconomic History," NBER Working Papers 4935, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Eichengreen, Barry & Flandreau, Marc, 2009. "The rise and fall of the dollar (or when did the dollar replace sterling as the leading reserve currency?)," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(3), pages 377-411, December.
    9. Albers, Thilo & Uebele, Martin, 2015. "The global impact of the great depression," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 64491, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    10. Bordo, Michael D. & Choudhri, Ehsan U. & Schwartz, Anna J., 2002. "Was Expansionary Monetary Policy Feasible during the Great Contraction? An Examination of the Gold Standard Constraint," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 1-28, January.
    11. Martin Ellison & Sang Seok Lee & Kevin Hjortshøj O'Rourke, 2020. "The Ends of 27 Big Depressions," NBER Working Papers 27586, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Maurice Obstfeld & Alan M. Taylor, 1998. "The Great Depression as a Watershed: International Capital Mobility over the Long Run," NBER Chapters, in: The Defining Moment: The Great Depression and the American Economy in the Twentieth Century, pages 353-402, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. 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.
    14. Nicholas Crafts, 2014. "What Does the 1930s' Experience Tell Us about the Future of the Eurozone?," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(4), pages 713-727, July.
    15. Mitchener, Kris James & Wandschneider, Kirsten, 2015. "Capital controls and recovery from the financial crisis of the 1930s," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(2), pages 188-201.
    16. Luca Pensieroso & Romain Restout, 2018. "The Gold Standard and the Great Depression: a Dynamic General Equilibrium Model," LIDAM Discussion Papers IRES 2018016, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    17. Kevin Hjortshøj O’Rourke & Sang Seok Lee & Martin Ellison, 2020. "The Ends of 30 Big Depressions," Working Papers 20200035, New York University Abu Dhabi, Department of Social Science, revised May 2020.
    18. Olivier CARDI & Romain RESTOUT, 2021. "Sectoral Fiscal Multipliers And Technology In Open Economy," Working Papers of BETA 2021-22, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
    19. Albers, Thilo Nils Hendrik, 2018. "The prelude and global impact of the Great Depression: Evidence from a new macroeconomic dataset," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 150-163.
    20. Barry Eichengreen, 2004. "Viewpoint: Understanding the Great Depression," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 37(1), pages 1-27, February.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Great Depression; Gold Stabilization Act; Tripartite Agreement; Bretton Woods; Jacob Viner.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • B31 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - Individuals
    • E63 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Comparative or Joint Analysis of Fiscal and Monetary Policy; Stabilization; Treasury Policy
    • F55 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - International Institutional Arrangements
    • F59 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - Other
    • N12 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:frz:wpaper:wp2009_10.rdf. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/defirit.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Giorgio Ricchiuti (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/defirit.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.