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The European Crisis in the Context of the History of Previous Financial Crises

  • Michael D. Bordo
  • Harold James

There are some striking similarities between the pre 1914 gold standard and EMU today. Both arrangements are based on fixed exchange rates, monetary and fiscal orthodoxy. Each regime gave easy access by financially underdeveloped peripheral countries to capital from the core countries. But the gold standard was a contingent rule--in the case of an emergency like a major war or a serious financial crisis --a country could temporarily devalue its currency. The EMU has no such safety valve. Capital flows in both regimes fueled asset price booms via the banking system ending in major crises in the peripheral countries. But not having the escape clause has meant that present day Greece and other peripheral European countries have suffered much greater economic harm than did Argentina in the Baring Crisis of 1890.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19112.

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Date of creation: Jun 2013
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19112
Note: DAE ME
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  1. James, Harold, 2012. "Making the European Monetary Union," Economics Books, Harvard University Press, number 9780674066830.
  2. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2009. "This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 8973, April.
  3. Niall Ferguson & Moritz Schularick, 2004. "The Empire Effect: The Determinants of Country Risk in the First Age of Globalization, 1880-1913," Working Papers 04-03, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  4. Bordo, Michael D. & Rockoff, Hugh, 1996. "The Gold Standard as a “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval”," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 56(02), pages 389-428, June.
  5. Michael D. Bordo & Christopher M. Meissner, 2007. "Foreign Capital and Economic Growth in the First Era of Globalization," NBER Working Papers 13577, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Mankiw, N. Gregory, 1987. "The optimal collection of seigniorage : Theory and evidence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 327-341, September.
  7. Michael D. Bordo & Alan M. Taylor & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2003. "Introduction to "Globalization in Historical Perspective"," NBER Chapters, in: Globalization in Historical Perspective, pages 1-10 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Michael D. Bordo & Marc Flandreau, 2001. "Core, Periphery, Exchange Rate Regimes, and Globalization," NBER Working Papers 8584, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Harris Dellas & Goerge Tavlas, 2012. "The road to Ithaca: the Gold Standard, the Euro and the origins of the Greek sovereign debt crisis," Working Papers 149, Bank of Greece.
  10. Davis, Lance E., 1965. "The Investment Market, 1870–1914: The Evolution of a National Market," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 25(03), pages 355-399, September.
  11. Lucas, Robert Jr. & Stokey, Nancy L., 1983. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy in an economy without capital," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 55-93.
  12. Barry Eichengreen, 1992. "Golden Fetters: The Gold Standard and the Great Depression, 1919-1939," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number eich92-1, December.
  13. Barry Eichengreen & Peter Temin, 2010. "Fetters of Gold and Paper," NBER Working Papers 16202, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Michael D. Bordo & Alan M. Taylor & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2003. "Globalization in Historical Perspective," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bord03-1, December.
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