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The Specie Standard as a Contingent Rule: Some Evidence for Core and Peripheral Countries, 1880-1990

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  • Michael D. Bordo
  • Anna J. Schwartz

Abstract

The specie standard that prevailed before 1914 was a contingent rule. Under the rule specie convertibiltity could be suspended in the event of a well understood, exogenously produced emergency, such as a war, on the understanding that after the emergency had safely passed convertibility would be restored at the original parity. Market agents would regard successful adherence as evidence of a credible commitment and would allow th authorities access to seignorage and bond finance at favorable terms. This paper surveys the history of the specie standard as a contingent rule for 21 countries divided into core and peripheral countries. As a comparison we also briedfly consider the Bretton Woods system and the recent managed floating regime. We then present evidence across four regimes (pre-1914 gold standard; interward gold standard; Bretton Woods; the subsequent managed exchange rate float) for the 21 countries on the stability of macro variables as well as on the demand shocks (reflecting policy actions specific to the regime) and supply shocks (reflecting shocks to the environment independence of the regime). These measures allow us to determine whether adherents to the rule consistently pursued different policy actions from nonadherents, and whether persistent adverse shocks to the environment may, for some countries, have precluded adherence to the rule.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael D. Bordo & Anna J. Schwartz, 1994. "The Specie Standard as a Contingent Rule: Some Evidence for Core and Peripheral Countries, 1880-1990," NBER Working Papers 4860, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4860
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    Cited by:

    1. Jonathan David Ostry & Anne Marie Gulde & Atish R. Ghosh & Holger C. Wolf, 1995. "Does the Nominal Exchange Rate Regime Matter?," IMF Working Papers 1995/121, International Monetary Fund.
    2. Bampinas, Georgios & Panagiotidis, Theodore, 2015. "Are gold and silver a hedge against inflation? A two century perspective," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 267-276.
    3. Michael Bordo & Pierre Siklos, 2014. "Central Bank Credibility, Reputation and Inflation Targeting in Historical Perspective," NBER Working Papers 20693, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Ron Alquist & Benjamin Chabot, 2010. "Did adhering to the gold standard reduce the cost of capital?," Working Paper Series WP-2010-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    5. Peter Kugler & Beatrice Weder, 2002. "The Puzzle of the Swiss Interest Rate Island: Stylized Facts and a New Interpretation," Aussenwirtschaft, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science, Swiss Institute for International Economics and Applied Economics Research, vol. 57(01), pages 49-64, March.
    6. Newby, Elisa, 2012. "The suspension of the gold standard as sustainable monetary policy," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 36(10), pages 1498-1519.
    7. Jagjit S.Chadha & Elisa Newby, 2013. "'Midas, transmuting all, into paper': the Bank of England and the Banque de France during the Napoleonic Wars," Studies in Economics 1315, School of Economics, University of Kent.
    8. Michael D. Bordo, 2017. "An Historical Perspective on the Quest for Financial Stability and the Monetary Policy Regime," Economics Working Papers 17108, Hoover Institution, Stanford University.
    9. Larry Neal & Marc Weidenmier, 2002. "Crises in the Global Economy from Tulips to Today: Contagion and Consequences," NBER Working Papers 9147, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E42 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Monetary Sytsems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System
    • F33 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Monetary Arrangements and Institutions

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