NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
loading...

The Missing Bretton Woods Debate over Flexible Exchange Rates

Douglas A. Irwin

NBER Working Paper No. 23037
Issued in January 2017
NBER Program(s):Development of the American Economy, International Finance and Macroeconomics, International Trade and Investment

The collapse of the gold standard in the 1930s sparked a debate about the merits of fixed versus floating exchange rates. Yet the debate quickly vanished: there was almost no discussion about the exchange rate regime at the Bretton Woods conference in 1944 because John Maynard Keynes and Harry Dexter White agreed that exchange rate stability through fixed but adjustable pegs was the right approach. In light of the difficult macroeconomic tradeoffs experienced under the gold standard a decade earlier, the outright rejection of floating exchange rates seems surprising. This paper explores the views of leading economists about the exchange rate provisions in the Bretton Woods agreement and examines why arguments for floating exchange rates were so quickly dismissed.

download in pdf format
   (181 K)

email paper

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w23037

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded* these:
Stiglitz w23032 Macro-economic Management in an Electronic Credit/Financial System
Ilzetzki, Reinhart, and Rogoff w23135 The Country Chronologies to Exchange Rate Arrangements into the 21st Century: Will the Anchor Currency Hold?
Bordo w23189 The Operation and Demise of the Bretton Woods System; 1958 to 1971
Farmer w23109 Post Keynesian Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium Theory
Lee and Shin w23283 Horizontal and Vertical Polarization: Task-Specific Technological Change in a Multi-Sector Economy
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Themes
Data
People
About

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us