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Sterling's Past, Dollar's Future: Historical Perspectives on Reserve Currency Competition

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  • Barry Eichengreen

Abstract

This paper provides an historical perspective on reserve currency competition and on the prospects of the dollar as an international currency. It questions the conventional wisdom that competition for reserve-currency status is a winner-take-all game, showing that several currencies have often shared this role in the past and arguing that innovations in financial markets make it even more likely that they will do so in the future. It suggests that the dollar and the euro are likely to share this position for the foreseeable future. Hopes that the yuan could become a major international currency 20 or even 40 years from now are highly premature.

Suggested Citation

  • Barry Eichengreen, 2005. "Sterling's Past, Dollar's Future: Historical Perspectives on Reserve Currency Competition," NBER Working Papers 11336, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11336
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Fishlow, Albert, 1985. "Lessons from the past: capital markets during the 19th century and the interwar period," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 39(03), pages 383-439, June.
    2. Michael P. Dooley & David Folkerts-Landau & Peter M. Garber, 2005. "An essay on the revived Bretton Woods system," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Feb.
    3. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Hélène Rey, 2007. "International Financial Adjustment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(4), pages 665-703, August.
    4. Marco Pagano, 2004. "The European Bond Markets under EMU," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(4), pages 531-554, Winter.
    5. Eichengreen, Barry, 1998. "The Euro as a Reserve Currency," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 483-506, December.
    6. Barry Eichengreen, 2010. "Global Imbalances and the Lessons of Bretton Woods," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262514141, January.
    7. Flandreau, Marc & Sussman, Nathan, 2004. "Old Sins: Exchange Rate Clauses and European Foreign Lending in the 19th Century," CEPR Discussion Papers 4248, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. Michael P. Dooley & David Folkerts-Landau & Peter Garber, 2007. "Direct Investment, Rising Real Wages and the Absorption of Excess Labor in the Periphery," NBER Chapters,in: G7 Current Account Imbalances: Sustainability and Adjustment, pages 103-132 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Kouri, Pentti J K, 1976. " The Exchange Rate and the Balance of Payments in the Short Run and in the Long Run: A Monetary Approach," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 78(2), pages 280-304.
    10. George S. Tavlas, 1997. "The International Use of the US Dollar: An Optimum Currency Area Perspective," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(6), pages 709-747, September.
    11. Michael D. Bordo & Christopher Meissner & Angela Redish, 2003. "How "Original Sin" was Overcome: The Evolution of External Debt Denominated in Domestic Currencies in the United States and the British Dominions," NBER Working Papers 9841, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Jason Furman & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1998. "Economic Crises: Evidence and Insights from East Asia," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(2), pages 1-136.
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    JEL classification:

    • F0 - International Economics - - General

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