Who Adjusts?: Domestic Sources of Foreign Economic Policy During the Interwar Years

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Princeton University Press, 1997 - Business & Economics - 330 pages
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In this work Beth Simmons presents a fresh view of why governments decided to abide by or defect from the gold standard during the 1920s and 1930s. Previous studies of the spread of the Great Depression have emphasized "tit-for-tat" currency and tariff manipulation and a subsequent cycle of destructive competition. Simmons, on the other hand, analyzes the influence of domestic politics on national responses to the international economy. In so doing, she powerfully confirms that different political regimes choose different economic adjustment strategies. Using cross-sectional time series data and four cases, Simmons offers a profile of the domestic politics and institutions associated with capital flight, current account deficit, currency devaluation, and tariff protection - all of which were inconsistent with the demands of remaining on gold. She demonstrates that capital flight and current account deficits stemmed largely from governmental failure to develop credible anti-inflationary policies. In turn, decisions to externalize the subsequent deficits, whether through high tariffs or devaluation, were also driven by domestic political conditions. Who Adjusts? thus moves beyond systemic theories of international political economy, adding a new dimension to the study of the interwar situation.
 

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Contents

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3
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VI
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About the author (1997)

Beth A. Simmons is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley.

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