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Target Zones in History and Theory: Lessons from an Austro-Hungarian Experiment (1896-1914)

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  • Flandreau, Marc
  • Komlos, John

Abstract

The first known experiment with an exchange rate band took place in Austria- Hungary between 1896 and 1914. The rationale for introducing this policy rested on precisely those intuitions that the modern literature has emphasized: the band was designed to secure both exchange rate stability and monetary policy autonomy. However, unlike more recent experiences, such as the ERM, this policy was not undermined by credibility problems. The episode provides an ideal testing ground for some important ideas in modern macroeconomics: specifically, can formal rules, when faithfully adhered to, provide policy makers with some advantages such as short term autonomy? First, we find that a credible band has a "microeconomic" influence on exchange rate stability. By reducing uncertainty, a credible fluctuation band improves the quality of expectations, a channel that has been neglected in the modern literature. Second, we show that the standard test of the basic target zone model is flawed and develop an alternative methodology. We believe that these findings shed a new light on the economics of exchange rate bands.

Suggested Citation

  • Flandreau, Marc & Komlos, John, 2003. "Target Zones in History and Theory: Lessons from an Austro-Hungarian Experiment (1896-1914)," Discussion Papers in Economics 75, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenec:75
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    File URL: https://epub.ub.uni-muenchen.de/75/2/foreward.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. E.O. Svensson, Lars, 1994. "Why exchange rate bands? : Monetary independence in spite of fixed exchange rates," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 157-199, February.
    2. Giuseppe Bertola & Lars E. O. Svensson, 1993. "Stochastic Devaluation Risk and the Empirical Fit of Target-Zone Models," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(3), pages 689-712.
    3. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/622 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Michael D. Bordo & Marc Flandreau, 2003. "Core, Periphery, Exchange Rate Regimes, and Globalization," NBER Chapters,in: Globalization in Historical Perspective, pages 417-472 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Mark Blaug, 2001. "No History of Ideas, Please, We're Economists," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(1), pages 145-164, Winter.
    6. Koppl, Roger & Yeager, Leland B., 1996. "Big Players and Herding in Asset Markets: The Case of the Russian Ruble," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 367-383, July.
    7. Mark Blaug, 2001. "No History of Ideas, Please, We're Economists: Response," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(4), pages 222-222, Fall.
    8. Lars E. O. Svensson, 1992. "An Interpretation of Recent Research on Exchange Rate Target Zones," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(4), pages 119-144, Fall.
    9. Officer,Lawrence H., 2007. "Between the Dollar-Sterling Gold Points," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521038218.
    10. Goldman, Elena, 2000. "Testing efficient market hypothesis for the dollar-sterling gold standard exchange rate 1890-1906: MLE with double truncation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 253-259, December.
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    Cited by:

    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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    target zones; credibility; exchange rate stability; monetary policy autonomy;

    JEL classification:

    • F31 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Exchange
    • N32 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-

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