Paolo Di Martino

Still glittering: a review of the literature on the classical gold standard, 1996-2020

  • Abstract

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Keywords: International gold standard, monetary regimes, exchange rates, capital flows, geopolitics

The paper reviews the literature on the so-called classical gold standard with the aim of providing the current state-of-the-art of the debate and to suggest possible way(s) forward in the research on the topic. The paper bridges and expands previous literature reviews appeared from 2006 to 2018 by looking at all articles published in the main journals of the discipline between about 1996 and the end of 2020, as well as running an on-line thematic search for books and studies appearing in history or economics journals. The paper argues that after a degree of consensus around the mid-1990s, positions diverged since the mid-2000s. While some authors qualified and further developed the «orthodox» credibility-based view developed in the 1990s, others explored different directions. These include the role of geopolitics and power as part of the monetary arrangement, as well as the existence of hybrid forms of adherence to the gold standard and the use of «gold devices» as standard and structural policies.

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