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American in the Shadows; Harry Dexter White and the Design of the International Monetary Fund

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  • James M. Boughton

Abstract

Two economists designed the main features of the charter of the IMF during World War II: John Maynard Keynes and Harry Dexter White. Several of those features are attributable primarily to White, including the adoption of fixed but adjustable exchange rates, the funding of operations with national currencies deposited by member states, extending credits through currency swaps rather than conventional loans, making these credits subject to policy conditions, and encouraging members to retain capital controls as an option for use in difficult circumstances. This study of archival material helps to uncover White's role in this design process.

Suggested Citation

  • James M. Boughton, 2006. "American in the Shadows; Harry Dexter White and the Design of the International Monetary Fund," IMF Working Papers 06/6, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:06/6
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. David Laidler & Roger Sandilands, 2002. "An Early Harvard Memorandum on Anti-Depression Policies: An Introductory Note," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 34(3), pages 515-532, Fall.
    2. David Laidler & Roger Sandilands, 2000. "An Early Harvard Memorandum on anti-Depression Policies. Introductory Note," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 20004, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
    3. Boughton, James M., 2004. "New Light on Harry Dexter White," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 26(02), pages 179-195, June.
    4. Schwartz, Anna J, 1997. "From Obscurity to Notoriety: A Biography of the Exchange Stabilization Fund," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 29(2), pages 135-153, May.
    5. C. Randall Henning, 1999. "Exchange Stabilization Fund: Slush Fund or War Chest?, The," Peterson Institute Press: Policy Analyses in International Economics, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number pa57, October.
    6. James M. Boughton, 2002. "Why White, Not Keynes? Inventing the Post-War International Monetary System," IMF Working Papers 02/52, International Monetary Fund.
    7. 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.
    8. Michael Bordo & Anna J. Schwartz, 2001. "From the Exchange Stabilization Fund to the International Monetary Fund," NBER Working Papers 8100, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Keywords

    Exchange rate regimes; Capital flows; Capital controls; International monetary system; Fund; IMF; Harry Dexter White; exchange regimes; gold; silver; monetary fund; monetary system; History of Thought: Individuals; International Monetary Arrangements and Institutions; White; Harry Dexter;

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