NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Does Competition Between Currencies Lead to Price Level and Exchange Rate Stability?

Michael Woodford

NBER Working Paper No. 3441
Issued in September 1990
NBER Program(s):   ITI   IFM

Over the past century, the world economy has passed through a succession of phases characterized by very different levels of international capital flows. This paper asks what accounts for these dramatic shifts in the extent of capital movements across national borders, three categories of explanation are considered. The first emphasizes the policy regime - attributing the unusual extent of capital flows prior to 1914 to the operation of the international gold standard, The second focuses on the stages-of-indebtedness sometimes thought to characterize the process of economic development. The third ascribes changes in the extent of capital flows to the boom-and-bust cycles through which international capital markets are thought to pass. Though each approach contributes something to our understanding of the phenomenon, none is totally satisfactory. I therefore suggest an alternative explanation, which lays stress on the increase in the magnitude of real interest rate and reel exchange race variability that has occurred over the last 100 years.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w3441

Published: A. Giovannini and C. Mayer, eds., European Financial Integration, Cambridge Cambridge University Press, 1991

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