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Sovereign Risk, Credibility and the Gold Standard: 1870-1913 versus 1925-31

  • Maurice Obstfeld

    (University of California, Berkeley, CEPR & NBER)

  • Alan M. Taylor

    (University of California, Davis & NBER)

  • )

What determines sovereign risk? We study the London bond market from the 1870s to the 1930s. Our findings support conventional wisdom concerning the low credibility of the interwar gold standard. Before 1914 gold standard adherence effectively signalled credibility and shaved up to 30 basis points from country borrowing spreads. In the 1920s, however, simply resuming prewar gold parities was insufficient to secure benefits. Countries that devalued before resumption were treated more favorably, and markets scrutinized other signals. Public debt and British Empire membership were important determinants of spreads after World War One, but not before.

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File URL: http://econwpa.repec.org/eps/it/papers/0303/0303001.pdf
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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series International Trade with number 0303001.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: 25 Mar 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpit:0303001
Note: 46 pages, Acrobat .pdf
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://econwpa.repec.org

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  1. Michael D. Bordo & Alan M. Taylor & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2003. "Introduction to "Globalization in Historical Perspective"," NBER Chapters, in: Globalization in Historical Perspective, pages 1-10 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Thomas J. Sargent, 1981. "Stopping moderate inflations: the methods of Poincaré and Thatcher," Working Papers 1, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
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  4. Peter L. Rousseau & Richard Sylla, 2003. "Financial Systems, Economic Growth, and Globalization," NBER Chapters, in: Globalization in Historical Perspective, pages 373-416 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  8. Maurice Obstfeld & Alan M. Taylor, 2003. "Globalization and Capital Markets," NBER Chapters, in: Globalization in Historical Perspective, pages 121-188 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. 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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  11. Gregor W. Smith & R. Todd Smith, 1996. "Greenback-Gold Returns and Expectations of Resumption, 1862-1879," Working Papers 1255, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  12. Flandreau, Marc & Sussman, Nathan, 2004. "Old Sins: Exchange Rate Clauses and European Foreign Lending in the 19th Century," CEPR Discussion Papers 4248, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Hawke, G R, 1975. "Income Estimation from Monetary Data: Further Explorations," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 21(3), pages 301-07, September.
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  16. Allan Drazen & Paul R. Masson, 1993. "Credibility of Policies versus Credibility of Policymakers," NBER Working Papers 4448, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Matthew T. Jones and Maurice Obstfeld., 1997. "Saving, Investment, and Gold: A Reassessment of Historical Current Account Data," Center for International and Development Economics Research (CIDER) Working Papers C97-094, University of California at Berkeley.
  18. Michael D. Bordo & Alan M. Taylor & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2003. "Globalization in Historical Perspective," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bord03-1, August.
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