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The Political Economy of Exchange Rate Stability During the Gold Standard. Spain 1874—1914

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  • MARTÍNEZ-RUIZ, Elena
  • NOGUES-MARCO, Pilar

Abstract

This article contributes to the literature on central bank independence and monetary stability during the classical gold standard era. On the eve of the First World War, European periphery had not achieved stable adherence to gold despite the protection of central banks against political pressures to monetize debt. In the 19th century, most issuing institutions were private banks whose main objective was profit maximization. As a result, monetary stability depended on negotiations between monetary and fiscal authorities and not directly on central bank independence as is the case nowadays. Strong governments were needed to impose the objective of monetary stability on central banks in negotiation practices. To test our argument, we have constructed indicators of government strength and central bank independence to measure bargaining power for the case of Spain. Results confirm that a highly independent private central bank avoided the responsibility of defending gold adherence when negotiating with weak government, even in a stable macroeconomic environment. Our research suggests that the success of central bank independence in generating monetary stability during the gold standard period depended on sound political institutions.

Suggested Citation

  • MARTÍNEZ-RUIZ, Elena & NOGUES-MARCO, Pilar, 2018. "The Political Economy of Exchange Rate Stability During the Gold Standard. Spain 1874—1914," Discussion paper series HIAS-E-75, Hitotsubashi Institute for Advanced Study, Hitotsubashi University.
  • Handle: RePEc:hit:hiasdp:hias-e-75
    Note: This draft, June 2018
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Rita Martins de Sousa, 2019. "Portugal adoption of the gold standard: political reasons for a monetary choice (1846-1854)," Working Papers GHES - Office of Economic and Social History 2019/64, ISEG - Lisbon School of Economics and Management, GHES - Social and Economic History Research Unit, Universidade de Lisboa.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    gold standard; monetary stability; political economy; central bank independence; institutional design; Spain;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E02 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - Institutions and the Macroeconomy
    • E42 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Monetary Sytsems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • F33 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Monetary Arrangements and Institutions
    • N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913

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