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An uncertain dollar: The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and the monetary crisis of 1971 to 1973

Author

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  • Tiago Mata

    () (ISEG, Technical University of Lisbon, Portugal)

Abstract

In August 15, 1971, President Nixon announced the unilateral suspension of the convertibility of the dollar into gold, a foundation of the world monetary system since the Second World War. The media and economic experts were caught by surprise, neither could foresee the immediate consequences of the decision or what would be the architecture of the emerging international monetary system. From 1971 to 1973, the money markets and the value of the dollar became a news, an opinion, an editorial item in both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. I examine this record to question how was anxiety about the dollar resolved in media communication? Media narratives were not uniform between and within the two newspapers. What distinguished the Times and Journal's coverage was their diverse framing of the dollar as political, financial or economic object. I conclude that media uncertainty about the dollar was less an outcome of failing expert knowledge as it was a consequence of the dollar's multiple cultural significations.

Suggested Citation

  • Tiago Mata, 2008. "An uncertain dollar: The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and the monetary crisis of 1971 to 1973," FEP Working Papers 270, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
  • Handle: RePEc:por:fepwps:270
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    Keywords

    Economic Journalism; dollar; Smithsonian; Nixon shock; media narratives;

    JEL classification:

    • A11 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Role of Economics; Role of Economists
    • B29 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Other
    • 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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