Research

Work in progress:

Zombie International Currency: The pound sterling, 1945-1971

Abstract: This paper provides new evidence on the decline of the sterling as international currency, focusing on its role as foreign exchange reserve under the Bretton Woods era. I assemble a unique dataset gathered in central banks’ archives on the composition of foreign exchange reserves of European central banks at the country level and from international organizations archives. I show that the shift away from the sterling occurred earlier than conventionally as soon after WWII, sterling was a reserve asset only in the sterling area. I document how the Bank of England used capital controls, moral suasion and geopolitical influence against sterling area countries to limit the divestments of their sterling assets. Using new archival evidence, I show that the Bank of England could only prevent an early devaluation thanks to international support. Thus, after WWII, the sterling was a zombie international currency.

Presentations: 2021 Oxford graduate Economic History seminar, 2021 seminar of financial and business history, Paris School of Economics, 2021 EHS conference, 2020, Research Seminar of the Queen's University Centre for Economic History, Belfast, 2020 LSE Graduate Economic History Seminar - London, EHS NRS Online. 2019 Research seminar – Wirtschaftsuniversität, Wien, 2019 CEB Brown bag seminar – ULB, Brussels 2019 Pierre du Bois Conference - Geneva, 2019 Economic History Association meeting, 2017 MacroHist Meeting.

The Long Run ; EHS New researcher paper

At Your Service! Liquidity Provision and Risk Management in 19th Century France

Joint work with Vincent Bignon

Abstract: This paper uses a historical study to show a solution to the trade-off faced by central banks between providing liquidity to a broad group of financial intermediaries and the risk that this easy access may fuel moral hazard. In late 19th century the Bank of France operates a very wide discount window and uses a variety of risk management techniques to effectively subdue risk-taking behaviors and to protect its balance sheet from taking any loss. This allows agents to monetize a very diverse set of capital while limiting the risk of bail-out. We show that this effectively helps the central bank to stabilize the economy from the consequences of negative income shocks.

CEPR Discussion paper 13556

Vox column ; LSE Business Review

Presentations: 2019 EHES conference, 2019 French Economic Association conference, 2019 PhD Day – University of Geneva, 2018 Historiales, 2018 CEPR Symposium, 2018 World Economic History Congress, 2017 Economic History Society annual conference, 2016 World Congress of Cliometrics.


Photo: The U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Morgenthau, Jr., addresses the delegates to the Bretton Woods Monetary Conference, July 8, 1944 (Credit: U.S. Office of War Information in the National Archives).