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The "Gold Standard Paradox" and its Resolution


  • Willem H. Buiter
  • Vittorio U. Grilli


This paper analyzes Krugman's contention that there is a "gold standard paradox" in the speculative attack literature. The paradox occurs if a country's currency appreciates after it runs out of gold or equivalently if a speculative attack can happen only after the country "naturally" runs out of reserves. We first show that Krugman's paradox is a very general phenomenon which does not require mean reverting processes for the fundamentals and which can be present in discrete time models as well as in continuous time models. We present several specific cases in which the paradox occurs i.e. environments which do not support an equilibrium. Next we show that, contrary to Krugman's conjecture, it is not necessary to abandon the assumption of a perfectly fixed exchange rate in favor of a band system in order to recover a well-defined equilibrium. We propose two alternative ways of amending the model which produce an equilibrium and preserve the fixed exchange rate assumption.

Suggested Citation

  • Willem H. Buiter & Vittorio U. Grilli, 1989. "The "Gold Standard Paradox" and its Resolution," NBER Working Papers 3178, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3178
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Krugman, Paul, 1979. "A Model of Balance-of-Payments Crises," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 11(3), pages 311-325, August.
    2. John Kareken & Neil Wallace, 1981. "On the Indeterminacy of Equilibrium Exchange Rates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 96(2), pages 207-222.
    3. Buiter, Willem H., 1987. "Borrowing to defend the exchange rate and the timing and magnitude of speculative attacks," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3-4), pages 221-239, November.
    4. Paul R. Krugman, 1987. "Trigger Strategies and Price Dynamics in Equity and Foreign Exchange Markets," NBER Working Papers 2459, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Froot, Kenneth A & Obstfeld, Maurice, 1991. "Stochastic Process Switching: Some Simple Solutions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(1), pages 241-250, January.
    6. Flood, Robert P. & Garber, Peter M., 1984. "Collapsing exchange-rate regimes : Some linear examples," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1-2), pages 1-13, August.
    7. Robert P. Flood & Peter M. Garber, 1989. "The Linkage Between Speculative Attack and Target Zone Models of Exchange Rates," NBER Working Papers 2918, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Svensson, Lars E. O., 1991. "Target zones and interest rate variability," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1-2), pages 27-54, August.
    2. Dumas, Bernard & Svensson, Lars E. O., 1994. "How long do unilateral target zones last?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(3-4), pages 467-481, May.
    3. James B. Bullard, 1991. "Collapsing exchange rate regimes: a reinterpretation," Working Papers 1991-003, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

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