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© Baldwin & Wyplosz 2006 Chapter 13 A Monetary History of Europe
© Baldwin & Wyplosz 2006 Why Studying History? Monetary union is the controversial end of a long process. History helps understand. Since paper money was invented, Europes monetary history has been agitated. Each bad episode carries important lessons. Before paper money, Europe was a de facto monetary union. Understand how it worked helps understand how the new union works.
© Baldwin & Wyplosz 2006 Metallic Money Under metallic money (overlooking the difference between gold and silver) the whole world was really a monetary union. Previous explicit unions only agreed on the metal content of coins to simplify everyday trading.
© Baldwin & Wyplosz 2006 The Gold Standard and Humes Mechanism Humes mechanism implies an automatic change in the money stock to achieve balance of payments equilibrium. Balance of payments = net increase in money supply 0 C A B Gold money 0 C A B
© Baldwin & Wyplosz 2006 The Gold Standard and Humes Mechanism: The Trade Account Money determines the price level (in the long run). Gold money Price level
© Baldwin & Wyplosz 2006 The Gold Standard and Humes Mechanism: The Trade Account The price level affects the trade balance: –if domestic prices are high relative to foreign prices, we have a deficit –conversely, relatively low domestic prices lead to a trade surplus. Price level Trade deficit Trade surplus Gold money
© Baldwin & Wyplosz 2006 The Gold Standard and Humes Mechanism: The Trade Account Trade balance is achieved when the stock of money is M 1. Price level P1P1 M1M1 Current account deficit Current account surplus Gold money
© Baldwin & Wyplosz 2006 The Gold Standard and Humes Mechanism: The Trade Account Humes mechanism: return to balance is automatic: –if we start with deficit (point A, high money stock M 0 ), money flows out until we get back to balance. Price level Current account deficit Current account surplus Gold money A M0M0 M1M1 P1P1
© Baldwin & Wyplosz 2006 The Gold Standard and Humes Mechanism: The Trade Account Much the same story applies to the financial account: if the domestic interest rate is high (low), capital flows in (out) and the return to balance is automatic. Interest rate Financial account surplus Financial account deficit Gold money i* M0M0 M2M2 A 0
© Baldwin & Wyplosz 2006 The Gold Standard and Humes Mechanism: The Trade Account The balance payments adds the current and financial accounts.
© Baldwin & Wyplosz 2006 Humes Price-Specie Mechanism
© Baldwin & Wyplosz 2006 The Interwar Period: The Worst Of All Worlds Paper money starts circulating widely. Yet the authorities attempt to carry on with the gold standard but: –no agreement on how to set exchange rates between paper monies –an imbalanced starting point with war legacies high inflation high public debts.
© Baldwin & Wyplosz 2006 The Interwar Period: Three Case Studies The British case: a refusal to devalue an overvalued currency breeds economic decline. The French case: devaluation, under-valuation and beggar-thy-neighbour policies, until others retaliate and the currency becomes overvalued. The German case: hyperinflation, devaluation and, finally, evading the choice of an appropriate exchange rate by resorting to ever-widening non-market controls.
© Baldwin & Wyplosz 2006 Lessons So Far We need a system, one way or another. The gold standard – monetary unions – delivers automatic return to equilibrium, but at the cost of booms and recessions. No agreement leads to misalignments, competitive devaluations and trade wars. Agreements require rules of the game, including a conductor.
© Baldwin & Wyplosz 2006 European Postwar Arrangements An overriding desire for exchange rate stability: –initially provided by the Bretton Woods system –the US dollar as anchor and the IMF as conductor. Once Bretton Woods collapsed, the Europeans were left on their own: –the timid Snake arrangement –the European Monetary System –the monetary union.
© Baldwin & Wyplosz 2006 The Bretton Woods System Collapse Initial divergence.
© Baldwin & Wyplosz 2006 The Snake Arrangement Agreeing on stabilizing intra-European bilateral parities. No enforcement mechanism: too fragile to survive.
© Baldwin & Wyplosz 2006 The European Snake
© Baldwin & Wyplosz 2006 The EMS: Super Snake Complements bilateral exchange rate commitments with a support mechanism. Allows for prompt realignments to avoid misalignments. Emergence of the Deutschemark as the systems anchor.
© Baldwin & Wyplosz 2006 Lessons From History
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