A Scholar in Action in Interwar America. John H. Williams’ contributions to trade theory and international monetary reform
In this paper we analyse the scientific contributions of Harvard economist John H. Williams as international trade theorist and monetary reformer, together with his activities as a Vice President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. In the first two Sections we present a succinct overview of Williams’ main contributions to international trade theory and to the interwar debate on the reform of the international monetary system. Particular attention will be devoted to his early academic writings which contained different critical arguments against the two main tenets of classical international economics: the Ricardian theory of comparative advantages and the gold standard. These criticisms formed the theoretical rationale and the analytical background of Williams’ key currency approach to the reform of the international monetary system. The key currency plan was first formulated when Williams advised Roosevelt and Morghenthau to sign a Tripartite agreement with Britain and France, and was later refined during the negotiations which concluded with the approval of the Bretton Woods agreements. In this respect, Section 4 is devoted to the analysis of the contents of Williams’ proposal and to the reconstruction of his main criticisms of the two official plans presented by John Maynard Keynes and Harry Dexter White. Section 5 is devoted to examining Keynes’ and White’s reactions and to elucidating what aspects of Williams’ ideas managed to influence the shaping of the Bretton Woods Agreements. Finally, Section 6 presents some general conclusions. Sections 4 and 5 have greatly benefited from the use of archival sources which have been quoted at length, mostly in the footnotes
|Date of creation:||Jul 2004|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Piazza S.Francesco,7 - 53100 Siena|
Web page: http://www.deps.unisi.it/
More information through EDIRC
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:usi:wpaper:430. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Fabrizio Becatti)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.