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The Rise and Fall of Global Currencies over Two Centuries

Roger Vicquéry

Working papers from Banque de France

Abstract: This paper quantifies the relative dominance of global currencies and the competitive structure of the international monetary system since 1825. I find the post-1945 experience of dollar hegemony to have no historical precedent. No currency has ever maintained such a large, long-lasting lead over global currency rivals. Close competitors frequently challenged the previous hegemon, the pound sterling. I confirm the dollar temporarily overtook the sterling for the first time in the mid-1920s. Among previously overlooked episodes of monetary competition, I highlight the rise of the French franc in the 1850s and 1930s as well as of the German mark in the 1870s. In light of the recent debate on the costs and benefits of a multipolar international monetary system, I document a positive correlation between higher global currency competition and the prevalence of financial crises, which is however highly dependent on specific sub-periods.

Keywords: International Monetary System; Long Run; Dollar Hegemony; Multipolarity (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: E5 F3 F4 N2 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 65 pages
Date: 2022
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-fdg, nep-his, nep-mon, nep-opm and nep-pay
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:bfr:banfra:882

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