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Exchange Rate Regimes and Reserve Policy on the Periphery: The Italian Lira 1883-1911

The three exchange rate regimes adopted by Italy from 1883 up to the eve of World War I — the gold standard (1883-1893), floating rates (1894-1902), and “gold shadowing” (1903-1911) — produced a puzzling result: formal adherence to the gold standard ended in failure while shadowing the gold standard proved very successful. This paper discusses the main policies underlying Italy’s performance particularly focusing on the strategy of reserve accumulation. It presents a cointegration analysis identifying a distinct co-movement between exchange rate, reserves, and banknotes that holds over the three sub-periods of the sample. Given this long-run relationship, the different performance in each regime is explained by the diversity of policy measures, reflected in the different variables adjusting the system in the various regimes. Italy’s variegated experience during the gold standard provides a valuable lesson about current developments in the international scenario, showing the central role of fundamenals and consistent policies.

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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_11.rdf.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:frz:wpaper:wp2009_11.rdf
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  1. Maurice Obstfeld & Alan M. Taylor, 2002. "Sovereign Risk, Credibility and the Gold Standard: 1870-1913 versus 1925-31," NBER Working Papers 9345, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Michael Bordo & Christopher Meissner, 2005. "Financial Crises, 1880-1913: The Role of Foreign Currency Debt," NBER Working Papers 11173, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Obstfeld, Maurice & Shambaugh, Jay C & Taylor, Alan M., 2008. "Financial Stability, the Trilemma, and International Reserves," CEPR Discussion Papers 6693, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Michael D. Bordo, 2003. "Exchange Rate Regime Choice in Historical Perspective," NBER Working Papers 9654, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Matthias Morys, 2007. "Adjustment under the Classical Gold Standard (1870s-1914): How Costly did the External Constraint Come to the European periphery?," Economics Series Working Papers 353, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  6. Johansen, Soren, 1991. "Estimation and Hypothesis Testing of Cointegration Vectors in Gaussian Vector Autoregressive Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(6), pages 1551-80, November.
  7. Sussman, Nathan & Yafeh, Yishay, 2000. "Institutions, Reforms, and Country Risk: Lessons from Japanese Government Debt in the Meiji Era," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(02), pages 442-467, June.
  8. Urbain, Jean-Pierre, 1995. "Partial versus full system modelling of cointegrated systems an empirical illustration," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 177-210, September.
  9. Michael D. Bordo & Marc Flandreau, 2001. "Core, Periphery, Exchange Rate Regimes, and Globalization," NBER Working Papers 8584, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Michael D. Bordo, 2003. "Exchange Rate Regime Choice in Historical Perspective," IMF Working Papers 03/160, International Monetary Fund.
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  12. Conte, Leandro & Toniolo, Gianni & Vecchi, Giovanni, 2003. "Monetary Union, Institutions and Financial Market Integration, Italy 1862-1905," CEPR Discussion Papers 3684, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  14. Bordo Michael D. & Kydland Finn E., 1995. "The Gold Standard As a Rule: An Essay in Exploration," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 423-464, October.
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  16. repec:cup:jechis:v:60:y:2000:i:02:p:442-467_00 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Guillermo Calvo & Frederic S. Mishkin, 2003. "The Mirage of Exchange Rate Regimes for Emerging Market Countries," NBER Working Papers 9808, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Hall, S G, 1991. "The Effect of Varying Length VAR Models on the Maximum Likelihood Estimates of Cointegrating Vectors," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 38(4), pages 317-23, November.
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  20. Serena Ng & Pierre Perron, 2001. "LAG Length Selection and the Construction of Unit Root Tests with Good Size and Power," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(6), pages 1519-1554, November.
  21. Tattara, Giuseppe, 2003. "Paper money but a gold debt: Italy on the gold standard," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 122-142, April.
  22. McKinnon, Ronald I, 1993. "The Rules of the Game: International Money in Historical Perspective," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(1), pages 1-44, March.
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  25. Henrik Hansen & Søren Johansen, 1992. "Recursive Estimation in Cointegrated VAR-Models," Discussion Papers 92-13, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
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  27. Martin Lettau & Sydney C. Ludvigson, 2004. "Understanding Trend and Cycle in Asset Values: Reevaluating the Wealth Effect on Consumption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 276-299, March.
  28. Di Martino Paolo, 2001. "Corso della Rendita e andamenti del tasso di cambio della Lira negli anni del "gold standard" (1883-1893)," Rivista di storia economica, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 1, pages 3-32.
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