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A Retrospective on the Classical Gold Standard, 1821-1931

This is a timely review of the gold standard covering the 110 years of its operation until 1931, when Britain abandoned it in the midst of the Depression. Current dissatisfaction with floating rates of exchange has spurred interest in a return to a commodity standard. The studies in this volume were designed to gain a better understanding of the historical gold standard, but they also throw light on the question of whether restoring it today could help cure inflation, high interest rates, and low productivity growth.

The volume includes a review of the literature on the classical gold standard; studies the experience with gold in England, Germany, Italy, Sweden, and Canada; and perspectives on international linkages and the stability of price-level trends under the gold standard. The articles and commentaries reflect strong, conflicting views among hte participants on issues of central bank behavior, purchasing-power an interest-rate parity, independent monetary policies, economic growth, the "Atlantic economy," and trends in commodity prices and long-term interest rates. This is a thoughtful and provocative book.

Table of Contents

Introduction by Anna J. Schwartz
I. The Gold Standard as Interpreted in Traditional and Revisionist Works
Chairman: Moses Abranovitz
1. The Gold Standard: The Traditional Approach
Michael D. Bordo
Comment: C. Knick Harley
General Discussion
2. The Success of Purchasing-Power Parity: Historical Evidence and Its Implications for Macroeconomics
Donald N. McCloskey and J. Richard Zecher
Comments: Robert E. Lipsey, Milton Friedman
General Discussion
II. Technical Procedures: Rules of the Game
Chairman: Robert A. Mundell
3. The Bank of England and the Rules of the Game under the International Gold Standard: New Evidence
John Dutton
Comment: Donald E. Moggridge
4. Bank of England Operations, 1893-1913
John Pippenger
Comment: Charles A. E. Goodhart
General Discussion of Dutton and Pippenger Papers
5. The Gold Standard and the Bank of England in the Crisis of 1847
Rudiger Dornbusch and Jacob A. Frenkel
Comment: J. R. T. Hughes
General Discussion
III. International Experience in the Operation of the Gold Standard
Chairman: Karl Brunner
6. Canada and the Interwar Gold Standard, 1920-35: Monetary Policy without a Central Bank
Ronald A. Shearer and Carolyn Clark
Comment: Charles Freedman
General Discussion
7. Operations of the German Central Bank and the Rules of the Game, 1879-1913
Paul McGouldrick
Comment: Heywood Feisig
General Discussion
8. Swedish Experience under the Classical Gold Standard, 1873-1914
Lars Jonung
Comment: Peter H. Lindert
9. Italy in the Gold Standard Period, 1861-1914
Michele Fratianni and Franco Spinelli
Comment: Richard E. Sylla
General Discussion of Jonung and Fratianni-Spinelli Papers
IV. International Linkages under the Gold Standard
Chairman: Allan H. Meltzer
10. The Gold Standard and the Transmission of Business Cycles, 1833-1932
Wallace E. Huffman and James R. Lothian
Comment: Michael Connolly
11. Real Output and the Gold Standard Years, 1830-1913
Stephen T. Easton
Comment: Geoffrey E. Wood
General Discussion of Huffman-Lothian and Easton Papers
12. Canada without a Central Bank: Operation of the Price-Specie-Flow Mechanism, 1872-1913
Georg Rich
Comment: Peter Temin
General Discussion
V. The Gold Standard as a Stabilizer of Commodity Prices
Chairman: Richard H. Timberlake, Jr.
13. War, Prices, and Interest Rates: A Martial Solution to Gibson’s Paradox
Daniel K. Benjamin and Levis A. Kochin
Comment: Phillip Cagan
General Discussion
14. Some Evidence on the Real Price of Gold, Its Costs of Production, and Commodity Prices
Hugh Rockoff
Comment: Robert J. Barro
General Discussion
15. The Image of the Gold Standard
Leland B. Yeager
Author Index
Subject Index

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