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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
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Journal of Macroeconomics Volume 39, Part B, March 2014, Pages 275–284 The Crisis in the Euro Area. Papers Presented at a Bank of Greece Conference Cover image The European Crisis in the Context of the History of Previous Financial Crises Michael Bordoa, Harold Jamesb, ,
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19112
Note: DAE ME
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