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The pitfalls of estimating transactions costs from price data: evidence from trans-Atlantic gold-point arbitrage, 1886-1905




This paper argues that bilateral spatial price models do not estimate bilateral transactions costs when trade with third cities is important. The paper examines trans-Atlantic gold arbitrage during the gold standard era by assembling a database indicating when trans-Atlantic gold shipments occurred. It shows that two-way gold shipments between New York and London frequently occurred prior to 1901. However, in 1901 gold shipments to London ceased and were replaced by triangular arbitrage shipments through Paris. Consequently, New York and London gold price data cannot be used to estimate New York-London transactions costs after 1901, as no trade took place.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Coleman, 2007. "The pitfalls of estimating transactions costs from price data: evidence from trans-Atlantic gold-point arbitrage, 1886-1905," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Discussion Paper Series DP2007/07, Reserve Bank of New Zealand.
  • Handle: RePEc:nzb:nzbdps:2007/07

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Angus Deaton & Guy Laroque, 1992. "On the Behaviour of Commodity Prices," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(1), pages 1-23.
    2. Brennan, Donna & Williams, Jeffrey & Wright, Brian D, 1997. "Convenience Yield without the Convenience: A Spatial-Temporal Interpretation of Storage under Backwardation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(443), pages 1009-1022, July.
    3. Deaton, Angus & Laroque, Guy, 1996. "Competitive Storage and Commodity Price Dynamics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 896-923, October.
    4. Williams,Jeffrey C. & Wright,Brian D., 2005. "Storage and Commodity Markets," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521023399, March.
    5. Christopher B. Barrett & Jau Rong Li, 2002. "Distinguishing between Equilibrium and Integration in Spatial Price Analysis," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 84(2), pages 292-307.
    6. Gustafson, Robert L., 1958. "Carryover levels for grains: A method for determining amounts that are optimal under specified conditions," Technical Bulletins 157231, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    7. Darren L. Frechette & Paul L. Fackler, 1999. "What Causes Commodity Price Backwardation?," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 81(4), pages 761-771.
    8. Spiller, Pablo T. & Wood, Robert O., 1988. "The estimation of transaction costs in arbitrage models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 309-326, November.
    9. Bob Baulch, 1997. "Transfer Costs, Spatial Arbitrage, and Testing for Food Market Integration," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 79(2), pages 477-487.
    10. Fackler, Paul L. & Goodwin, Barry K., 2001. "Spatial price analysis," Handbook of Agricultural Economics,in: B. L. Gardner & G. C. Rausser (ed.), Handbook of Agricultural Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 17, pages 971-1024 Elsevier.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gary Gorton & Ellis W. Tallman, 2016. "How Did Pre-Fed Banking Panics End?," NBER Working Papers 22036, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Coleman, Andrew, 2012. "Uncovering uncovered interest parity during the classical gold standard era, 1888–1905," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 20-37.
    3. Chilosi, David & Volckart, Oliver, 2009. "Money, states and empire: financial integration cycles and institutional change in Central Europe, 1400-1520," Economic History Working Papers 27884, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
    4. Meissner, Christopher M., 2014. "Growth from Globalization? A View from the Very Long Run," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 8, pages 1033-1069 Elsevier.

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    JEL classification:

    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • F31 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Exchange

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