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Crises Now and Then: What Lessons from the Last Era of Financial Globalization


  • Barry Eichengreen
  • Michael D. Bordo


We consider the operation of international capital markets in two periods of globalization, before 1914 and after 1971, with a focus on the crisis problem. We explore the idea that the incidence of crises in these two periods reflects how capital flows were embedded in the larger economic system. Other authors have made similar connections, suggesting that the international monetary framework was responsible for the relatively short-lived and mild nature of pre-World War I financial crises. However, we show that currency crises in fact were of longer duration before 1914. Only for banking and twin crises is there evidence that recovery was faster then than now. This leads us to a somewhat different view of the role of the monetary regime in the propagation of financial crises. A key difference between then and now, we suggest, is that prior to 1914 banking crises were less prone to undermine confidence in the currency, and to thereby compound financial problems, in the countries that were at the core of the international monetary system.

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  • Barry Eichengreen & Michael D. Bordo, 2002. "Crises Now and Then: What Lessons from the Last Era of Financial Globalization," NBER Working Papers 8716, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8716
    Note: DAE IFM ME

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Fishlow, Albert, 1985. "Lessons from the past: capital markets during the 19th century and the interwar period," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 39(03), pages 383-439, June.
    2. Douglas A. Irwin, 2000. "How Did the United States Become a Net Exporter of Manufactured Goods?," NBER Working Papers 7638, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Paolo Mauro & Nathan Sussman & Yishay Yafeh, 2002. "Emerging Market Spreads: Then versus Now," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(2), pages 695-733.
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    JEL classification:

    • F33 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Monetary Arrangements and Institutions
    • N20 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - General, International, or Comparative

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