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Measuring Market Integration: A Model of Arbitrage with an Econometric Application to the Gold Standard, 1879-1913

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  • Gauri Prakash
  • Alan M. Taylor

Abstract

A major question in the literature on the classical gold standard concerns the efficiency of international arbitrage. Most authors have examined efficiency by looking at the spread of the gold points, gold-point violations, the flow of gold in profitable or unprofitable directions, or by tests of various asset market criteria, including speculative efficiency and interest arbitrage. These studies have suffered from many limitations, both methodological and empirical. We offer a new methodology for measuring market integration, based on a theoretical model of arbitrage applicable to any type of market. The model is econometrically tractable using the techniques of threshold autoregressions. We study the efficiency of the dollar-sterling gold standard in this framework, and we radically improve the empirical basis for investigation by compiling a new, high-frequency series of continuous daily data from 1879 to 1913. Using data at this frequency we can derive reasonable econometric estimates of the size of transaction-cost bands (as compared with direct cost estimates). We can also estimate the speed of adjustment through which disequilibria (gold-point violations) were corrected. The changes in these measures over time provides an insight into the evolution of market integration in the classical gold standard.

Suggested Citation

  • Gauri Prakash & Alan M. Taylor, 1997. "Measuring Market Integration: A Model of Arbitrage with an Econometric Application to the Gold Standard, 1879-1913," NBER Working Papers 6073, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6073
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Balke, Nathan S & Fomby, Thomas B, 1997. "Threshold Cointegration," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 38(3), pages 627-645, August.
    2. Obstfeld, Maurice & Taylor, Alan M., 1997. "Nonlinear Aspects of Goods-Market Arbitrage and Adjustment: Heckscher's Commodity Points Revisited," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 441-479, December.
    3. Eichengreen, Barry, 1990. "Trends and Cycles in Foreign Lending," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt82z7083m, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
    4. Maurice Obstfeld & Alan M. Taylor, 1998. "The Great Depression as a Watershed: International Capital Mobility over the Long Run," NBER Chapters,in: The Defining Moment: The Great Depression and the American Economy in the Twentieth Century, pages 353-402 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Paul R. Krugman, 1991. "Target Zones and Exchange Rate Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(3), pages 669-682.
    6. Oskar Morgenstern, 1959. "International Financial Transactions and Business Cycles," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number morg59-1, July.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Ted Juhl & William Miles & Marc D. Weidenmier, 2006. "Covered Interest Arbitrage: Then versus Now," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 73(290), pages 341-352, May.
    2. Haskel, Jonathan & Wolf, Holger, 2001. " The Law of One Price--A Case Study," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 103(4), pages 545-558, December.
    3. Georg H. Strasser, 2010. "The Efficiency of the Global Markets for Final Goods and Productive Capabilities," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 766, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 31 Jan 2012.
    4. Obstfeld, Maurice & Taylor, Alan M., 1997. "Nonlinear Aspects of Goods-Market Arbitrage and Adjustment: Heckscher's Commodity Points Revisited," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 441-479, December.
    5. Bernholz, Peter & Kugler, Peter, 2011. "Financial market integration in the early modern period in Spain: Results from a threshold error correction model," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 110(2), pages 93-96, February.
    6. Coleman, Andrew, 2007. "The pitfalls of estimating transactions costs from price data: Evidence from trans-Atlantic gold-point arbitrage, 1886-1905," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 387-410, July.
    7. Peter Kugler, 2011. "Financial Market Integration in Late Medieval Europe: Results from a Threshold Error Correction Model for the Rhinegulden and Basle Pound 1365-1429," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 147(III), pages 337-352, September.
    8. Ihle, Rico & von Cramon-Taubadel, Stephan, 2008. "A Comparison of Threshold Cointegration and Markov-Switching Vector Error Correction Models in Price Transmission Analysis," 2008 Conference, April 21-22, 2008, St. Louis, Missouri 37603, NCCC-134 Conference on Applied Commodity Price Analysis, Forecasting, and Market Risk Management.
    9. Mutambatsere, Emelly & Mabaya, Edward T. & Christy, Ralph D., 2006. "Integration and Equilibrium of Maize Markets in Southern Africa: A SADC Sub-regional Assessment," Working Papers 127056, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N1 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations
    • F3 - International Economics - - International Finance

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