NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Richard Burdekin

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Working Papers

June 2011Irving Fisher and Price-Level Targeting in Austria: Was Silver the Answer?
with Kris James Mitchener, Marc D. Weidenmier: w17123
The question of price level versus inflation targeting remains controversial. Disagreement concerns, not so much the desirability of price stability, but rather the means of achieving it. Irving Fisher argued for a commodity dollar standard where the purchasing power of money was fixed by indexing it to a basket of commodities. We show that movements in the price of silver closely track the movements in overall prices during the classical gold standard era. The one-to-one relationship between paper and silver bonds suggests that a simple “silver rule" could have sufficed to fix the purchasing power of money.
May 2005Volatility in an Era of Reduced Uncertainty: Lessons from Pax Britannica
with William O. Brown, Marc D. Weidenmier: w11319
Although it has been well established that financial volatility is related to news and macroeconomic shocks, there has been less emphasis on the importance of underlying economic and political stability. In this paper we study the behavior of consol returns since 1729 and identify a greater-than-50% decline in volatility from the end of the Napoleonic wars in 1815 until the First World War. News events and macroeconomic variables cannot account for this extended period of reduced volatility. Underlying political stability under Pax Britannica seems to be a more likely explanation, however.

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