Why did countries adopt the gold standard? lessons from japan

Kris James Mitchener, Masato Shizume, Marc D. Weidenmier

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Why did policymakers adopt the gold standard? We first examine the political economy of Japan's adoption of the gold standard in 1897 by exploring the ex ante motives of policymakers as well as how the legislative decision to adopt gold won approval. We then show that joining the gold standard did not reduce Japanese interest rates or lead to a domestic investment boom. However, we find that membership in the gold standard increased Japan's exports by lowering transactions costs. Joining gold allowed Japan to tap into its growing share of global trade that was centered on the gold standard.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-56
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Economic History
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Mar
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)


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