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A Model of the Bimetallic System


  • Oppers, S.E.


This paper formalizes Irving Fisher’s century-old model of bimetallism and adds the important “disequilibrium” dynamics to deal with the long periods during which bimetallic countries were on effective monometallic standards. It resolves a long standing puzzle in the bimetallic literature regarding the remarkable stability of the gold/silver price ratio in the nineteenth century by modeling the bimetallic mint ratio as a regulating barrier to the gold/silver price ratio. It thus provides a clean-cut example of a target-zone model that—in contrast to other such models in the literature—exhibits the main predicted nonlinearities in the data. This is a Paper on Policy Analysis and Assessment and the author(s) would welcome any comments on the present text. Citations should refer to a Paper on Policy Analysis and Assessment of the International Monetary Fund, mentioning the author(s) and the date of issuance. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the Fund.
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Suggested Citation

  • Oppers, S.E., 1993. "A Model of the Bimetallic System," Working Papers 332, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  • Handle: RePEc:mie:wpaper:332

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Miller, M. & Weller, P., 1988. "Solving Stochastic Saddlepoint Systems: A Qualitative Treatment With Economic Applications," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 309, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    2. Rolnick, Arthur J & Weber, Warren E, 1986. "Gresham's Law or Gresham's Fallacy?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(1), pages 185-199, February.
    3. Paul R. Krugman, 1991. "Target Zones and Exchange Rate Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(3), pages 669-682.
    4. Flood, Robert P. & Rose, Andrew K. & Mathieson, Donald J., 1991. "An empirical exploration of exchange-rate target-zones," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 7-65, January.
    5. Froot, Kenneth A. & Obstfeld, Maurice, 1991. "Exchange-rate dynamics under stochastic regime shifts : A unified approach," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3-4), pages 203-229, November.
    6. Flood, Robert P & Garber, Peter M, 1983. "A Model of Stochastic Process Switching," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(3), pages 537-551, May.
    7. Robert L. Greenfield, 1992. "Gresham's Law Regained," NBER Historical Working Papers 0035, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Friedman, Milton, 1990. "Bimetallism Revisited," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 85-104, Fall.
    9. 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.
    10. Paul Krugman & Julio Rotemberg, 1990. "Target Zones with Limited Reserves," NBER Working Papers 3418, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Christopher M. Meissner, 2015. "The Limits of Bimetallism," NBER Working Papers 20852, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Flandreau, Marc R, 2002. ""Water Seeks a Level": Modeling Bimetallic Exchange Rates and the Bimetallic Band," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 34(2), pages 491-519, May.
    3. Flandreau, Marc & Oosterlinck, Kim, 2012. "Was the emergence of the international gold standard expected? Evidence from Indian Government securities," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(7), pages 649-669.
    4. Oppers, Stefan Erik, 1996. "Was the worldwide shift to gold inevitable? An analysis of the end of bimetallism," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 143-162, February.
    5. Francois R. Velde & Warren E. Weber, 2000. "A Model of Bimetallism," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(6), pages 1210-1234, December.
    6. Diebolt, Claude & Parent, Antoine, 2008. "Bimetallism: The "rules of the game"," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 288-302, July.

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