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Was Adherence to the Gold Standard a "Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval" During the Interwar Period?

  • Michael Bordo
  • Michael Edelstein

World War I dramatically altered the world's financial landscape. Most countries left the gold standard, and New York replaced London as the major lender in world capital markets. This paper discusses how the gold exchange standard was reconstructed in the 1920s. We show that the U.S. capital market viewed returning to the gold standard as a signal of financial rectitude, what we have referred to in other work as a 'Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.' When countries returned to gold, especially when they did so at the prewar parity, they were rewarded with the ability to borrow at substantially lower interest rates. Other signals of financial rectitude, such as small fiscal deficits, apparently carried little weight with lenders.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w7186.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7186.

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Date of creation: Jun 1999
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Publication status: published as Engerman, Stanley L., Philip T. Hoffman, Jean-Laurent Rosenthal, and Kenneth Sokoloff (eds.) Finance, Intermediaries, and Economic Development. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7186
Note: DAE ME
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  1. Michael D. Bordo & Barry Eichengreen, 1998. "The Rise and Fall of a Barbarous Relic: The Role of Gold in the International Monetary SYstem," NBER Working Papers 6436, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Michael D. Bordo, 1993. "The Bretton Woods International Monetary System: A Historical Overview," NBER Chapters, in: A Retrospective on the Bretton Woods System: Lessons for International Monetary Reform, pages 3-108 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
  4. Bordo Michael D. & Kydland Finn E., 1995. "The Gold Standard As a Rule: An Essay in Exploration," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 423-464, October.
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