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Swiss Exchange Rate Policy in the 1930s. Was the Delay in Devaluation Too High a Price to Pay for Conservatism?

Michael Bordo (), Thomas Helbling () and Harold James

Open Economies Review, 2007, vol. 18, issue 1, 1-25

Abstract: In this paper we examine the experience of Switzerland’s devaluation in 1936. We ask the following questions: what were the issues at stake in the political debate? What was the cost to Switzerland of the delay in the franc devaluation? What would have been the costs and benefits of an earlier exchange rate policy? To answer these questions we construct a simple open economy macro model of the interwar Swiss economy. We then posit counterfactual scenarios of alternative exchange rate pegs in 1931 and 1933. Our simulations clearly show a significant and large increase in real economic activity. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Keywords: Switzerland; Exchange rate policy; Devaluation; Gold bloc; Great depression; N14; N24 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2007
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