IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The original sin that started only later: How Austria-Hungary’s paper debt turned golden, 1870s – 1913


  • M Morys


Conventional wisdom has that most countries were not able to issue debt denominated in domestic currency before World War I. We show that Austria-Hungary had a vast external paper debt until the 1870s; only then became foreign residents reluctant to hold unsecured debt. Austria-Hungary attempted to counteract the repatriation of paper debt by issuing gold debt. As a result, the external debt became increasingly “golden” but the dual monarchy was a net exporter of capital in the period 1880-1913. This suggests that Austria-Hungary had been free from original sin initially but began to be affected by it in the 1870s. Based on a reconstruction of the balance-of payments, we then demonstrate that a strong export performance and large remittances from emigrants counteracted capital exports and interest payments abroad and made gold standard adherence feasible.

Suggested Citation

  • M Morys, 2010. "The original sin that started only later: How Austria-Hungary’s paper debt turned golden, 1870s – 1913," Centre for Historical Economics and Related Research at York (CHERRY) Discussion Papers 10/02, CHERRY, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
  • Handle: RePEc:yor:cherry:10/02

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Main text
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:yor:cherry:10/02. 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: (Doriana Delfino). General contact details of provider: .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.