IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/17123.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Irving Fisher and Price-Level Targeting in Austria: Was Silver the Answer?

Author

Listed:
  • Richard C.K. Burdekin
  • Kris James Mitchener
  • Marc D. Weidenmier

Abstract

The question of price level versus inflation targeting remains controversial. Disagreement concerns, not so much the desirability of price stability, but rather the means of achieving it. Irving Fisher argued for a commodity dollar standard where the purchasing power of money was fixed by indexing it to a basket of commodities. We show that movements in the price of silver closely track the movements in overall prices during the classical gold standard era. The one-to-one relationship between paper and silver bonds suggests that a simple "silver rule" could have sufficed to fix the purchasing power of money.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard C.K. Burdekin & Kris James Mitchener & Marc D. Weidenmier, 2011. "Irving Fisher and Price-Level Targeting in Austria: Was Silver the Answer?," NBER Working Papers 17123, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17123
    Note: DAE ME
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w17123.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Marc Flandreau, 2003. "The Bank, the States, and the Market : an Austro-Hungarian Tale for Euroland, 1867-1914," Post-Print hal-03397971, HAL.
    2. Flandreau, Marc & Komlos, John, 2006. "Target zones in theory and history: Credibility, efficiency, and policy autonomy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(8), pages 1979-1995, November.
    3. Alquist, Ron, 2010. "How important is liquidity risk for sovereign bond risk premia? Evidence from the London stock exchange," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 219-229, November.
    4. Berg, Claes & Jonung, Lars, 1999. "Pioneering price level targeting: The Swedish experience 1931-1937," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 525-551, June.
    5. Jonung, Lars, 1979. "Knut wicksell's norm of price stabilization and Swedish monetary policy in the 1930's," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(4), pages 459-496, October.
    6. Marc Flandreau, 2001. "The Bank, the States, and the Market: an Austro-Hungarian Tale for Euroland, 1867-1914," Sciences Po publications n°43, Sciences Po.
    7. Frederic S. Mishkin, 2009. "Monetary Policy Strategy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262513374.
    8. Giuseppe Tullio & Jürgen Wolters, 2007. "Monetary Policy in Austria–Hungary, 1876–1913: An Econometric Analysis of the Determinants of the Central Bank’s Discount Rate and the Liquidity Ratio," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 18(5), pages 521-537, November.
    9. Bordo Michael D. & Dittmar Robert D & Gavin William T., 2007. "Gold, Fiat Money, and Price Stability," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-31, August.
    10. George A. Kahn, 2009. "Beyond inflation targeting: should central banks target the price level?," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, vol. 94(Q III), pages 35-64.
    11. Robert E. Hall, 1982. "Inflation: Causes and Effects," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number hall82-1, January-J.
    12. Drake, Louis S., 1985. "Reconstruction of a bimetallic price level," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 194-219, April.
    13. Burdekin, Richard C.K., 2008. "US pressure on China: Silver flows, deflation, and the 1934 Shanghai credit crunch," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 170-182, June.
    14. F. W. Taussig, 1913. "The Plan for a Compensated Dollar," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 27(3), pages 401-416.
    15. Frederic Mishkin & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel, 2002. "A Decade of Inflation Targeting in the World: What Do We Know and What Do We Need to Know?," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series, in: Norman Loayza & Raimundo Soto & Norman Loayza (Series Editor) & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel (Series Editor) (ed.),Inflation Targeting: Desing, Performance, Challenges, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 4, pages 171-220, Central Bank of Chile.
    16. Svensson, Lars E O, 1999. "Price-Level Targeting versus Inflation Targeting: A Free Lunch?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 31(3), pages 277-295, August.
    17. Robert E. Hall, 2005. "Controlling the Price Level," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(1), pages 93-112, January.
    18. Schulze, Max-Stephan, 2007. "Origins of catch-up failure: comparative productivity growth in the Hapsburg Empire, 1870-1910," Economic History Working Papers 22318, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
    19. Smets, Frank & Vestin, David & Gaspar, Ví­tor, 2007. "Is time ripe for price level path stability?," Working Paper Series 818, European Central Bank.
    20. David E.W. Laidler, 2016. "The Golden Age of the Quantity Theory," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 4959.
    21. John Komlos & Marc Flandreau, "undated". "Core or Periphery? The Credibility of the Austro-Hungarian Currency, 1867-1913," Articles by John Komlos 4, Department of Economics, University of Munich.
    22. Siklos,Pierre L. & Bohl,Martin T. & Wohar,Mark E. (ed.), 2010. "Challenges in Central Banking," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521199292, October.
    23. Dowd, Kevin, 1996. "The Analytics of Bimetallism," The Manchester School of Economic & Social Studies, University of Manchester, vol. 64(3), pages 281-297, September.
    24. Perez, Stephen J & Siegler, Mark V, 2003. "Inflationary Expectations and the Fisher Effect prior to World War I," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 35(6), pages 947-965, December.
    25. Philip Cagan, 1982. "Current Problems of Monetary Policy: Would the Gold Standard Help?," Books, American Enterprise Institute, number 835803, September.
    26. Jobst, Clemens, 2009. "Market leader: the Austro-Hungarian Bank and the making of foreign exchange intervention, 1896–1913," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(3), pages 287-318, December.
    27. Robert E. Hall, 1982. "Explorations in the Gold Standard and Related Policies for Stabilizing the Dollar," NBER Chapters, in: Inflation: Causes and Effects, pages 111-122, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    28. Frieden, Jeffry A., 1997. "Monetary Populism in Nineteenth-Century America: An Open Economy Interpretation," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 57(2), pages 367-395, June.
    29. Sumner, Scott B, 1990. "The Forerunners of "New Monetary Economics" Proposals to Stabilize the Unit of Account," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 22(1), pages 109-118, February.
    30. Daniel Leigh, 2010. "Monetary Policy and the Lost Decade: Lessons from Japan," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 42(5), pages 833-857, August.
    31. Blattman, Christopher & Hwang, Jason & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 2007. "Winners and losers in the commodity lottery: The impact of terms of trade growth and volatility in the Periphery 1870-1939," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 156-179, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Max Gillman, 2021. "Macroeconomic Trends among Visegrád Countries, EU Balkans, and the U.S., 1991-2021," Central European Business Review, Prague University of Economics and Business, vol. 2021(2), pages 1-20.
    2. Binder, Carola Conces, 2016. "Estimation of historical inflation expectations," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 1-31.
    3. Michael D. Bordo & Hugh Rockoff, 2011. "The Influence of Irving Fisher on Milton Friedman's Monetary Economics," NBER Working Papers 17267, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Hatcher, Michael C., 2011. "Comparing inflation and price-level targeting: A comprehensive review of the literature," Cardiff Economics Working Papers E2011/22, Cardiff University, Cardiff Business School, Economics Section.
    2. repec:jes:wpaper:y:2012:v:4:p:809-823 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Jiri Bohm & Jan Filacek, 2012. "Price-Level Targeting–A Real Alternative to Inflation Targeting?," Czech Journal of Economics and Finance (Finance a uver), Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, vol. 62(1), pages 2-26, February.
    4. Iulian Vasile Popescu, 2012. "Price-Level Targeting – A Viable Alternative To Inflation Targeting?," CES Working Papers, Centre for European Studies, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, vol. 4(4), pages 809-823, December.
    5. Honkapohja, Seppo & Mitra, Kaushik, 2020. "Price level targeting with evolving credibility," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 88-103.
    6. Binder, Carola Conces, 2016. "Estimation of historical inflation expectations," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 1-31.
    7. Giannoni, Marc P., 2014. "Optimal interest-rate rules and inflation stabilization versus price-level stabilization," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 110-129.
    8. Sergio Rossi, 2004. "Inflation Targeting and Sacrifice Ratios : The Case of the European Central Bank," International Journal of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(2), pages 69-85.
    9. Andrew Jalil & Gisela Rua, 2015. "Inflation Expectations and Recovery from the Depression in 1933: Evidence from the Narrative Record," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2015-29, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    10. Jalil, Andrew J. & Rua, Gisela, 2016. "Inflation expectations and recovery in spring 1933," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 26-50.
    11. Rebeca Gomez Betancourt & Jérôme de Boyer des Roches, 2013. "Origins and developments of Irving Fisher's compensated dollar plan," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(2), pages 261-283, April.
    12. W. William Woolsey, 1992. "The Search for Macroeconomic Stability: Comment on Sumner," Cato Journal, Cato Journal, Cato Institute, vol. 12(2), pages 475-485, Fall.
    13. Bordo, Michael D., 1986. "Explorations in monetary history: A survey of the literature," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 339-415, October.
    14. Bokor, László, 2007. "Optimality criteria of hybrid inflation-price level targeting," MPRA Paper 10278, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Jul 2008.
    15. Cole, Stephen J., 2020. "The influence of learning and price-level targeting on central bank forward guidance," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 65(C).
    16. repec:dau:papers:123456789/10190 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Jason Lennard & Finn Meinecke & Solomos Solomou, 2021. "Measuring Inflation Expectations in Interwar Britain," CESifo Working Paper Series 9425, CESifo.
    18. Paulo R. Mota & Abel L. C. Fernandes, 2019. "The Dynamic Adjustment Of Central Banks’ Target Interest Rate: The Case Of The Ecb," FEP Working Papers 613, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
    19. Akhand Akhtar Hossain, 2009. "Central Banking and Monetary Policy in the Asia-Pacific," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 12777.
    20. Billi, Roberto M., 2018. "Price level targeting and risk management," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 163-173.
    21. Montes, Gabriel Caldas & Curi, Alexandre, 2017. "Disagreement in expectations about public debt, monetary policy credibility and inflation risk premium," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 46-61.
    22. Kenneth Kuttner & Adam Posen, 2011. "How Flexible Can Inflation Targeting Be and Still Work?," Department of Economics Working Papers 2011-10, Department of Economics, Williams College, revised Sep 2011.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E4 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • N1 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17123. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.