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Macroeconomic trade effects of vehicle currencies: Evidence from 19th century China

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  • El-Shagi, Makram
  • Zhang, Lin

Abstract

We use the Chinese experience between 1867 and 1910 to illustrate how the volatility of vehicle currencies affects trade. Today's widespread vehicle currency is the dollar. However, the macroeconomic effects of this use of the dollar have rarely been addressed. This is partly due to identification problems caused by its international importance. China had adopted a system, where silver was used almost exclusively for trade, similar to a vehicle currency. While being important for China, the global role of silver was marginal, alleviating said identification problems. We develop a bias corrected structural VAR showing that silver price fluctuations significantly affected trade.

Suggested Citation

  • El-Shagi, Makram & Zhang, Lin, 2016. "Macroeconomic trade effects of vehicle currencies: Evidence from 19th century China," IWH Discussion Papers 23/2016, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:iwhdps:232016
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Runkle, David E, 1987. "Vector Autoregressions and Reality," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 5(4), pages 437-442, October.
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    8. Tai-kuang Ho & Cheng-chung Lai & Joshua Jr-shiang Gau, 2013. "Equilibrium and adjustment of exchange rates in the Chinese silver standard economy, 1928-1935," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 7(1), pages 87-98, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Makram El-Shagi & Lunan Jiang, 2017. "China Monetary Policy Transmission in China: Dual Shocks with Dual Bond Markets," CFDS Discussion Paper Series 2017/2, Center for Financial Development and Stability at Henan University, Kaifeng, Henan, China.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    vehicle currency; China; SVAR; small sample;

    JEL classification:

    • C32 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes; State Space Models
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F31 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Exchange
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics
    • N15 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Asia including Middle East

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