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On the origins of the Triffin dilemma: Empirical business cycle analysis and imperfect competition theory

  • Ivo Maes


    (National Bank of Belgium, Research Department
    Université catholique de Louvain, Robert Triffin Chair
    ICHEC Brussels Management School)

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    Robert Triffin became famous with his trenchant analyses of the vulnerabilities of the Bretton Woods system. These are still at the center of many discussions today. This paper argues that there is a remarkable continuity in Triffin's work. From his earliest writings, Triffin developed a vision that the international adjustment process was not functioning according to the classical mechanisms. This view was based on thorough empirical analyses of the Belgian economy during the Great Depression and shaped by a business cycle perspective with an emphasis on the disequilibria and the transition period. His doctoral dissertation on imperfect competition theory and his Latin American experience further reinforced this basic view.

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    Paper provided by National Bank of Belgium in its series Working Paper Research with number 240.

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    Length: 32 pages
    Date of creation: Dec 2012
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:nbb:reswpp:201212-240
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    1. Rebeca Gomez Betancourt, 2010. "Edwin Walter Kemmerer and the origins of the Federal Reserve System," Post-Print halshs-00559631, HAL.
    2. Ivo Maes, 2002. "Economic Thought and the Making of European Monetary Union," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 2515, 10.
    3. Douglas A. Irwin, 2010. "Did France Cause the Great Depression?," NBER Working Papers 16350, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. F. W. Taussig, 1917. "International Trade Under Depreciated Paper. A Contribution to Theory," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 31(3), pages 380-403.
    5. Eichengreen, Barry, 2012. "Exorbitant Privilege: The Rise and Fall of the Dollar," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199642472, December.
    6. Ivo Maes & Erik Buyst, 2005. "Migration and Americanization: The special case of Belgian economics," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(1), pages 73-88.
    7. Ivo Maes, 2010. "A century of macroeconomic and monetary thought at the National Bank of Belgium," Working Paper Research 188, National Bank of Belgium.
    8. Paul Mandy, 2005. "L'héritage de Léon-H. Dupriez : un survol," Reflets et perspectives de la vie économique, De Boeck Université, vol. 0(1), pages 11-30.
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