NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The "Gold Standard Paradox" and its Resolution

Willem H. Buiter, Vittorio U. Grilli

NBER Working Paper No. 3178
Issued in November 1989
NBER Program(s):   ITI   IFM

This paper analyzes Krugman's contention that there is a "gold standard paradox" in the speculative attack literature. The paradox occurs if a country's currency appreciates after it runs out of gold or equivalently if a speculative attack can happen only after the country "naturally" runs out of reserves. We first show that Krugman's paradox is a very general phenomenon which does not require mean reverting processes for the fundamentals and which can be present in discrete time models as well as in continuous time models. We present several specific cases in which the paradox occurs i.e. environments which do not support an equilibrium. Next we show that, contrary to Krugman's conjecture, it is not necessary to abandon the assumption of a perfectly fixed exchange rate in favor of a band system in order to recover a well-defined equilibrium. We propose two alternative ways of amending the model which produce an equilibrium and preserve the fixed exchange rate assumption.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w3178

Paul Krugman and Marcus Miller, editors, "Anomalous Speculative Attacks on Fixed Exchange Rate Regimes," Exchange Rates and Currency Bands. Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 1991.

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