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The political economy of exchange rate stability during the gold standard. The case of Spain, 1874-1914

Listed author(s):
  • Martínez-Ruiz, Elena
  • Nogues-Marco, Pilar

This article contributes to the literature on the commitment to gold during the classical period of the gold standard. We use the case of Spain to analyse how national institutional design determined adherence to gold in peripheral countries, and argue that institutional design was the result of negotiation between the government and the central bank. We construct indicators of the relative bargaining power of the two actors to assess their respective influence in determining adherence to gold. Our results show that a powerful government facilitated adherence to the gold standard, but an independent central bank hindered it, especially if confronted by an unstable political authority. Central banks were private institutions whose objective was profit maximization, not monetary stability. Strongly independent private central banks operating in politically very weak countries avoided the responsibility of defending the national currency, even in a stable macroeconomic situation. In peripheral countries, therefore, adherence (or not) to gold was determined by the institutional design in which the monetary system operated.

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File URL: https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:91510/ATTACHMENT01
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Paper provided by University of Geneva, Paul Bairoch Institute of Economic History in its series Working Papers with number unige:91510.

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Length: 46p.
Date of creation: 2017
Handle: RePEc:gnv:wpaper:unige:91510
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  1. Esteves, Rui Pedro & Reis, Jaime & Ferramosca, Fabiano, 2009. "Market Integration in the Golden Periphery. The Lisbon/London Exchange, 1854-1891," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 324-345, July.
  2. Torsten Persson, 2002. "Do Political Institutions Shape Economic Policy?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(3), pages 883-905, May.
  3. Elena Martínez-Ruiz & Pilar Nogues-Marco, 2014. "Crisis cambiarias y políticas de intervención en España, 1880-1975," Estudios de Historia Económica, Banco de España;Estudios de Historia Económica Homepage, number 66.
  4. Cukierman, Alex, 2008. "Central bank independence and monetary policymaking institutions -- Past, present and future," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 722-736, December.
  5. Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 2003. "Political Institutions and Policy Choices: Evidence from the United States," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(1), pages 7-73, March.
  6. Barro, Robert J. & Gordon, David B., 1983. "Rules, discretion and reputation in a model of monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 101-121.
  7. Blancheton, Bertrand, 2016. "Central bank independence in a historical perspective. Myth, lessons and a new model," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 52(PA), pages 101-107.
  8. Eijffinger, S.C.W., 1993. "Central bank independence in twelve industrial countries," Other publications TiSEM 0401b17a-e2c7-4179-ace9-a, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  9. Alex Cukierman, 1992. "Central Bank Strategy, Credibility, and Independence: Theory and Evidence," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262031981, January.
  10. Pablo Martín-Aceña & Elena Martínez Ruíz & Pilar Nogués Marco, 2012. "The Bank of Spain: a National Financial Insitution," Documentos de Trabajo (DT-AEHE) 1205, Asociacion Espa–ola de Historia Economica.
  11. Jushan Bai & Pierre Perron, 1998. "Estimating and Testing Linear Models with Multiple Structural Changes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(1), pages 47-78, January.
  12. Cukierman, Alex & Webb, Steven B & Neyapti, Bilin, 1992. "Measuring the Independence of Central Banks and Its Effect on Policy Outcomes," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 6(3), pages 353-398, September.
  13. Berger, Helge & de Haan, Jakob & Eijffinger, Sylvester C W, 2001. " Central Bank Independence: An Update of Theory and Evidence," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(1), pages 3-40, February.
  14. Charles Goodhart, 1988. "The Evolution of Central Banks," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262570734, January.
  15. Jácome, Luis I. & Vázquez, Francisco, 2008. "Is there any link between legal central bank independence and inflation? Evidence from Latin America and the Caribbean," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 788-801, December.
  16. N. Nergiz Dincer & Barry Eichengreen, 2014. "Central Bank Transparency and Independence: Updates and New Measures," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 10(1), pages 189-259, March.
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