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By B. Eichengreen

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Extra resources for Currency Convertibility in the Twentieth Century: The Gold Standard and Beyond (Routledge Explorations in Economic History, 3)

Example text

Convertibility was short-lived, however. Expansionary fiscal OPERATION OF THE SPECIE STANDARD 41 policy in 1884 led to a crisis and suspension on January 1, 1885. Again suspension is associated with a decline in capital flows but the significant rebound from 1886 to 1889 under inconvertible money suggests that British investors placed more weight on the long-run economic prosperity of the Argentine economy than currency stability.

Notes a Dual exchange rates. b Change from Australian Pound to Australian dollar. c Multiple exchange rates. concluded for the later period that the United States belongs among core countries, we also do not exclude it from the core group when it was on a bimetallic standard. S. Coinage Act of 1792 defined the bimetallic standard at a mint ratio of 15 to 1. In 1834 and again in 1837 the mint ratio was altered, remaining unchanged thereafter at 16 to 1. Banking panics in 1837 and 1857 led to temporary restriction of payments by banks, but no suspension of convertibility.

But there still would be a risk of abrogation of the gold clauses or of total default on the debt. That eventuality would be reflected in a risk premium on the loan. 14 But a more fundamental problem could arise in a world of asymmetric information with the possibility of a ‘lemons premium’ (Akerlof, 1970; Stiglitz and Weiss, 1981). In that case, charging a high interest rate might attract borrowers willing to engage in unduly risky projects. Lenders faced with imperfect information on borrowers’ likely actions would then be reluctant to lend at any price.

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