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The EBS 1821-1873: results and comments

This page presents the information and materials gathered during our research,and which can be used to approach the question of the European Bimetallic System from 1821 to 1873. The references below, particularly those from 2010 and 2011, will provide a better understanding of the international monetary system as it functioned prior to the generalisation of the gold standard in the 1870s, and offer a basis for comparisons with other interpretations.

At a time when monetary units were based on two metals – the gold and/or silver standard –, the exchange rate in this type of system depended on two factors: the balance of payments position and the gold and silver markets. These two factors were interdependent, as both were greatly influenced by two features, namely the nature of the monetary regimes in place in the various zones considered (in this case, centred on Paris, London and Hamburg) and the conditions under which international arbitrage between currency markets and bullion markets (gold and silver) operated.

Therefore, when studying the functioning of the European Bimetallic System, factors related to bilateral balance of payments must first be distinguished from aspects related to bullion prices, in order to reveal the bimetallic arbitrages that made the system so unique.

Information is therefore available on:

Additional references:

  • Boyer-Xambeu (M.-T.), Deleplace (G.) and Gillard (L.) (2011) "Taux de change et serpents bimétalliques entre Londres, Paris et Hambourg, 1821-1873", mimeo, LED-Université Paris 8.

  • Boyer-Xambeu (M.-T.), Deleplace (G.) and Gillard (L.) (2010) "A Triangular International Bimetallism: Gold-Silver Price Ratios and Exchange Rates in Europe, 1821-1873", mimeo, LED-Université Paris 8.

  • Boyer-Xambeu (M.-T.), Deleplace (G.), Gaubert (P.), Gillard (L.) and Olteanu (M.) (2007) "Mixing Kohonen Algorithm, Markov Switching Model and Detection of Multiple Change-Points: An Application to Monetary History" in: Sandoval (F.), Prieto (A.), Cabestany (J.) and Grana (M.) (eds.), Lecture Notes on Computer Science 4507. Berlin: Springer Verlag, pp. 541-550.

  • Boyer-Xambeu (M.-T.), Deleplace (G.) and Gillard (L.) (1997), "'Bimetallic Snake' and Monetary Regimes: The Stability of the Exchange Rate between London and Paris from 1796 to 1873" in: Marcuzzo (M.C.), Officer (L.H.) and Rosselli (A.) (eds.), Monetary Standards and Exchange Rates, London: Routledge, pp. 106-149.

  • Boyer-Xambeu (M.-T.), Deleplace (G.) and Gillard (L.) (1994) "Régimes monétaires, points d'or et 'serpent bimétallique' de 1770 à 1870", Revue économique, No. 45 (5), pp. 1139-1174.

  • Seyd (E.) (1868), "Bullion and Foreign Exchanges, Theoretically and Practically Considered", London: Effingham Wilson, Royal Exchange.

Updated on: 05/07/2018 10:15