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The Federal Reserve, the Bank of England, and the Rise of the Dollar as an International Currency, 1914-1939

This paper provides new evidence on the rise of the dollar as an international currency, focusing on its role in the conduct of trade and the provision of trade credit. We show that the shift to the dollar occurred much earlier than conventionally supposed: during and immediately after World War I. Not just market forces but also policy support – the Fed in its role as market maker – was important for the dollar’s overtaking of sterling as the leading international currency. On balance, this experience challenges the popular notion of international currency status as being determined mainly by market size. It suggests that the popular image of strongly increasing returns and pervasive network externalities leaving room for only one monetary technology is misleading.

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File URL: http://repec.graduateinstitute.ch/pdfs/Working_papers/HEIDWP16-2010.pdf
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Paper provided by Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies in its series IHEID Working Papers with number 16-2010.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:gii:giihei:heidwp16-2010
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  1. Flandreau, Marc & Jobst, Clemens, 2005. "The Ties that Divide. A Network Analysis of the International Monetary System," CEPR Discussion Papers 5129, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Marc Flandreau & Clemens Jobst, 2009. "The Empirics of International Currencies: Network Externalities, History and Persistence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(537), pages 643-664, 04.
  3. Chinn, Menzie & Frankel, Jeffrey, 2008. "The Euro May over the Next 15 Years Surpass the Dollar as Leading International Currency," Working Paper Series rwp08-016, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  4. Gino Cattani & Adrian E. Tschoegl, 2002. "An Evolutionary View of Internationalization: Chase Manhattan Bank, 1917 to 1996," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 02-37, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
  5. Liebowitz, S J & Margolis, Stephen E, 1990. "The Fable of the Keys," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(1), pages 1-25, April.
  6. Battilossi, Stefano, 2006. "The determinants of multinational banking during the first globalisation 1880 1914," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(03), pages 361-388, December.
  7. Ignacio Briones & André Villela, 2006. "European Bank Penetration During The First Wave Of Globalization: Lessons From Brazil And Chile, 1878/1913," Anais do XXXIV Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 34th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 23, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
  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(03), pages 377-411, December.
  9. Hausmann Ricardo & Panizza Ugo, 2011. "Redemption or Abstinence? Original Sin, Currency Mismatches and Counter Cyclical Policies in the New Millennium," Journal of Globalization and Development, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1), pages 1-35, August.
  10. Moulton, Brent R, 1990. "An Illustration of a Pitfall in Estimating the Effects of Aggregate Variables on Micro Unit," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(2), pages 334-38, May.
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