International Monetary Regimes: The Gold Standard

  • Lawrence H. OfficerEmail author
Reference work entry


The classical gold standard is the most famous monetary system that ever existed, with its heyday lasting a third of a century. By the time World War I began, the gold standard had become the predominant national and international monetary system in the world. Countries may be allocated to different groups, depending on the importance of the country to the working of the gold standard, the type of gold standard to which the country adhered, and the extent to which the country observed the standard. Whether automatic or policy-induced, there are implications for the money supply. The main theme is that the gold standard exhibited both elements that promoted stability and forces that fostered instability. Modern time-series analysis has been used to examine various facets of the gold standard, especially the roles of the core countries (Britain, France, Germany, and the United States). While there is apparent consensus on some aspects of the gold standard, controversies continue, and there remains room for further research and reflection.


Gold Core Periphery Standard Rules 


  1. Bazot G, Bordo MD, Monnet E (2016) International shocks and the balance sheet of the Bank of France under the classical gold standard. Explor Econ Hist 62:87–107CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bloomfield AI (1959) Monetary policy under the international gold standard: 1880–1914. Federal Reserve Bank of New York, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  3. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (1943) Banking and monetary statistics 19140-1941. National Capital Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  4. Bordo MD (1993) The gold standard, Bretton woods and other monetary regimes: a historical appraisal. Fed Reserve Bank St Louis Rev 75(2):123–191Google Scholar
  5. Bordo MD, Kydland FE (1996) The gold standard as a commitment mechanism. In: Bayoumi T, Eichengreen B, Taylor MP (eds) Modern perspectives on the gold standard. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 55–100Google Scholar
  6. Bordo MD, Meissner CM (2011) Foreign capital, financial crises and incomes in the first era of globalization. Eur Rev Econ Hist 15(1):61–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bordo MD, Rockoff H (1996) The gold standard as a ‘good housekeeping seal of approval. J Econ Hist 56(2):389–428CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bordo MD, Schwartz AJ (1996) The operation of the specie standard. In: de Macedo JB, Eichengreen B, Reis J (eds) Currency convertibility. Routledge, London, pp 11–83Google Scholar
  9. Bordo MD, Schwartz AJ (1999) Monetary policy regimes and economic performance: the historical record. In: Taylor JB, Woodford M (eds) Handbook of Macroeconomics, vol 1A. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 149–234CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bordo MD, Landon-Lane J, Redish A (2010) Deflation, productivity shocks and gold: evidence from the 1880–1914 period. Open Econ Rev 21(4):515–546CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Canjels E, Prakash-Canjels G, Taylor AM (2004) Measuring market integration: foreign exchange arbitrage and the gold standard, 1879–1913. Rev Econom Stat 86(4):868–882CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Catão LAV, Solomou SN (2005) Effective exchange rates and the classical gold standard adjustment. Am Econ Rev 95(4):1259–1275CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Conant CA (1915) A history of modern banks of issue. Putnam’s, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  14. Davutyan N, Parke WR (1995) The operations of the Bank of England, 1890-1908: a dynamic Probit approach. J Money Credit Bank 27(4):1099–1112CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. De Cecco M (1984) The international gold standard. St. Martin’s, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  16. Dimitrova K, Fantacci L (2010) The establishment of the gold standard in Southeast Europe: convergence to a new system or divergence from an old one? In: Baubeau P, Ögren A (eds) Convergence and divergence of National Financial Systems. Pickering & Chatto, London, pp 179–196Google Scholar
  17. Duarte AP, Andrade JS, Duarte A (2013) Exchange rate target zones: a survey of the literature. J Econ Surv 27(2):247–268CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Easton HT (1912) Tate’s modern Cambist. Effingham Wilson, LondonGoogle Scholar
  19. Eichengreen B (1987) Conducting the international orchestra: Bank of England leadership under the classical gold standard. J Int Money Financ 6(1):5–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Eichengreen B (1992) Golden fetters. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  21. Eichengreen B (2008) Globalizing capital, 2nd edn. Princeton University Press, PrincetonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Eichengreen B, Flandreau M (1996) The geography of the gold standard. In: de Macedo JB, Eichengreen B, Reis J (eds) Currency convertibility. Routledge, London, pp 113–143Google Scholar
  23. Enders W (1989) Unit roots and the real exchange rate before World War I: the case of Britain and the USA. J Int Money Finance 8(1):59–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Esteves R, Khoudour-Castéras D (2009) A fantastic rain of gold: European migrants’ remittances and balance of payments adjustment during the gold standard period. J Econ Hist 69(4):951–985CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Flandreau M, Jobst C (2005) The ties that divide: a network analysis of the international monetary system, 1890–1910. J Econ Hist 65(4):977–1007CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Flandreau M, Zumer F (2004) The making of global finance 1880–1913. OECD, ParisGoogle Scholar
  27. Flandreau M, Le Cacheux J, Zumer F, Dornbusch R, Honohan P (1998) Stability without a pact? Lessons from the European gold standard, 1880-1914. Econ Policy 13(26):115–162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gallarotti GM (1995) The anatomy of an international monetary regime. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  29. Giovannini A (1993) Bretton woods and its precursors: rules versus discretion in the history of international monetary regimes. In: Bordo MD, Eichengreen B (eds) A retrospective on the Bretton woods system. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp 109–147Google Scholar
  30. Hallwood CP, MacDonald R, Marsh IW (1996) Credibility and fundamentals: were the classical and interwar gold standards well-behaved target zones? In: Bayoumi T, Eichengreen B, Taylor MP (eds) Modern perspectives on the gold standard. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 129–161Google Scholar
  31. Hatton TJ (1992) Price determination under the gold standard: Britain 1880–1913. In: Broadberry SN, Crafts NFR (eds) Britain in the international economy. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 137–156Google Scholar
  32. Jeanne O (1995) Monetary policy in England 1893-1914: a structural VAR analysis. Explor Econ Hist 32(3):302–326CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Keynes JM (1925) The economic consequences of Mr. Churchill. Hogarth, LondonGoogle Scholar
  34. Kreinin ME, Officer LH (1978) The monetary approach to the balance of payments: a survey. International Finance Section, Princeton University, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  35. Lindert PH (1969) Key currencies and gold, 1900–1913. International Finance Section, Princeton University, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  36. Martín-Aceña P (2007) The gold standard: a review from the periphery. In: Cottrell PL, Notaras G, Tortella G (eds) From the Athenian tetradrachm to the euro. Ashgate, Aldershot, pp 96–112Google Scholar
  37. Martín-Aceña P, Ruiz EM, Nogues-Marco P (2012) Floating against the tide: Spanish monetary policy, 1870–1931. In: Ogren A, Oksendal LF (eds) The gold standard peripheries. Palgrave Macmillan, London, pp 145–173CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. McCloskey DN, Richard Zecher J (1976) How the gold standard worked, 1880-1913. In: Frenkel JA, Johnson HG (eds) The monetary approach to the balance of payments. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, pp 357–385Google Scholar
  39. Meissner CM (2005) A new world order: explaining the international diffusion of the gold standard, 1870-1913. J Int Econ 66(2):385–406CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Milward AS (1996) The origins of the gold standard. In: de Macedo JB, Eichengreen B, Reis J (eds) Currency convertibility. Routledge, London, pp 87–101Google Scholar
  41. Mitchener KJ, Weidenmier MD (2015) Was the classical gold standard credible on the periphery? Evidence from currency risk. J Econ Hist 75(2):479–511CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Morgenstern O (1959) International financial transactions and business cycles. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  43. Morys M (2013) Discount rate policy under the classical gold standard: core versus periphery (1870s-1914). Explor Econ Hist 50(2):205–226CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Officer LH (1996) Between the dollar-Sterling gold points. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Officer LH (2002) The U.S. specie standard, 1792–1932: some monetarist arithmetic. Explor Econ Hist 39(2):113–153CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Officer LH (2006) Dollar-sterling parity: 1789–1978. In Carter SB et al (eds) Historical statistics of the United States, millennial edn. pp 5-561–563Google Scholar
  47. Officer LH (2008) Gold standard. In: Whaples R (ed) EH.Net encyclopedia. EH.Net, Oxford Scholar
  48. Officer LH (2012) Purchasing power parity in economic history. In: James J, Marsh IW, Sarno L (eds) Handbook of exchange rates. Wiley, Hoboken, pp 161–187Google Scholar
  49. Spiller PT, Wood RO (1988) Arbitrage during the Dollar-Sterling gold standard, 1899–1908: an econometric approach. J Polit Econ 96(4):882–892CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Stokes HH, Neuburger HM (2016) The “thin film of gold” – interest rates and gold flows in the classical gold-standard era (Unpublished)Google Scholar
  51. Tattara G (2003) Paper money but a gold debt: Italy in the gold standard. Explor Econ Hist 40(2):122–142CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Tattara G, Volpe M (1997) Italy, the fiscal-dominance model, and the gold-standard age. In: Marcuzzo MC, Officer LH, Rosselli A (eds) Monetary standards and exchange rates. Routledge, London, pp 229–263Google Scholar
  53. Temin P (1984) Comment. In: Bordo MD, Schwartz AJ (eds) A retrospective on the classical gold standard, 1821–1931. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp 576–581Google Scholar
  54. Triffin R (1964) The evolution of the international monetary system. International Finance Section, Princeton University, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  55. Tullio G, Wolters J (2000) Interest rate linkages between the US and the UK during the classical gold standard. Scottish J Polit Econom 47(1):61–71CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Wallace MS, Choudhry T (1995) The gold standard: perfectly integrated World markets or slow adjustment of prices and interest rates? J Int Money Financ 14(3):349–371CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics, College of Liberal Arts and SciencesUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA

Personalised recommendations