Front Matter

Front Matter

Morris Goldstein, Donald Mathieson, Tamim Bayoumi, Michael Mussa, and Peter Clark
Published Date:
January 1995
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    © 1994 International Monetary Fund

    Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

    Improving the international monetary system : constraints and possibilities / Michael Mussa … [et al.].

    • p. cm.—(Occasional Papers, ISSN 0251-6365 ; 116)

    • Includes bibliographical references.

    • ISBN 1-55775-444-6 : ($15.00, $12.00)

    • 1. International finance. 2. Foreign exchange rates. 3. Capital market. I. Mussa, Michael II. Series: Occasional paper (International Monetary Fund); no. 116.

    HG3881.156 1994

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    The following symbols have been used throughout this paper:

    • … to indicate that data are not available;

    • — to indicate that the figure is zero or less than half the final digit shown, or that the item does not exist;

    • – between years or months (e.g., 1991-92 or January-June) to indicate the years or months covered, including the beginning and ending years or months;

    • / between years (e.g., 1991/92) to indicate a crop or fiscal (financial) year.

    “Billion” means a thousand million.

    Minor discrepancies between constituent figures and totals are due to rounding.

    The term “country,” as used in this paper, does not in all cases refer to a territorial entity that is a state as understood by international law and practice; the term also covers some territorial entities that are not states, but for which statistical data are maintained and provided internationally on a separate and independent basis.


    This study, which was prepared by the Research Department of the IMF, addresses major policy issues associated with the future of the international monetary system. It focuses on whether there is a need for fundamental reform of this system, defined as a systematic and sustained effort on the part of the three major industrial countries to maintain their exchange rates within agreed ranges. It then discusses less far-reaching reforms that could strengthen and improve the system.

    This study was prompted, in part, by the fiftieth anniversary of the international conference held at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, in July 1944, and by the debate about the future of the international monetary system that this anniversary engendered. Much of the existing international institutional framework was created at Bretton Woods, namely, the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (the World Bank). Fifty years is probably an appropriate moment to take stock of international monetary arrangements, and this paper summarizes the views of the authors as a contribution to the debate about this important topic.

    All of the authors are members of the Research Department of the IMF. Michael Mussa is the Director of the Department, Morris Goldstein is Deputy Director, Peter Clark and Donald Mathieson are Division Chiefs, and Tamim Bayoumi is an economist. The authors wish to thank Youkyong Kwon and Susanna Mursula for research assistance, Gail Blade and Lena Buckle for secretarial aid, and numerous colleagues, in particular Steven Symansky, for comments and advice. Thanks are also due to Thomas Walter of the External Relations Department, who edited the manuscript and coordinated publication, and Alicia Etchebarne-Bourdin of the External Relations Department, who provided typesetting assistance.

    An earlier version of this paper was discussed by the Executive Board of the IMF, and the text was revised in the light of the many useful comments in that discussion. The opinions expressed in this paper, however, are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the IMF or its Executive Directors.

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