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Central banking under the gold standard: Rist versus Hawtrey on the policy of the Bank of France from 1928 to 1931


  • Lucy Brillant

    () (LEDi - Laboratoire d'Economie de Dijon - UB - Université de Bourgogne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, PHARE - Philosophie, Histoire et Analyse des Représentations Économiques - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne)

  • Pierre-Hernan Rojas

    (LEDa - Laboratoire d'Economie de Dauphine - Université Paris-Dauphine, EconomiX - UPN - Université Paris Nanterre - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)


It is widely believed that the difficult return to the gold standard during the 1920s and its demise in 1931 intensified the Great Depression. An interesting way of thinking about national and international monetary mechanisms emerged from the debates between French and British policymakers during those years. We attempt to explain the failure of the Bank of France and the Bank of England to cooperate during that period of political tension by examining the monetary thinking of Charles Rist and Ralph George Hawtrey, who certainly greatly shaped the mindsets of policymakers during the interwar period. Both were involved in the controversy over the strategy of the Bank of France, which accumulated and sterilized gold between 1928 and 1931. Our paper describes the differing beliefs held by Hawtrey and Rist concerning the philosophy, instruments, and goals of monetary policy. This divergence in views may shed light on the contrasting advice they tendered about central banking practices and might explains why central banking cooperation failed.

Suggested Citation

  • Lucy Brillant & Pierre-Hernan Rojas, 2019. "Central banking under the gold standard: Rist versus Hawtrey on the policy of the Bank of France from 1928 to 1931," Post-Print hal-01794848, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-01794848
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