The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
The role of exchange rate flexibility in the periphery of the gold standard has been grossly overlooked. This paper builds a new dataset on trade-weighed exchange rates for the period 1870-1913 and finds that large currency movements in periphery countries operating inconvertible paper-money and silver-standard regimes induced major fluctuations in effective exchange rates worldwide. We relate the phenomenon to the international trade structure at the time and show that such currency fluctuations had powerful effects on trade flows. We conclude that nominal exchange rate flexibility in the periphery was an important ingredient of international payments adjustment under the gold standard.