Bury the Gold Standard? A Quantitative Exploration

37 Pages Posted: 16 Nov 2020 Last revised: 7 Feb 2021

See all articles by Anthony M. Diercks

Anthony M. Diercks

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

Jonathan Rawls

University of Notre Dame

Eric R. Sims

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor; University of Notre Dame - Department of Economics

Date Written: October 2020

Abstract

This paper is one of the first to study the present-day properties of the gold standard in a quantitative model commonly used in central banks. We incorporate gold into an otherwise standard estimated New Keynesian model and compare the positive and normative implications of adopting a gold standard to other more commonly advocated policies. We show that under certain conditions, the gold standard is akin to a nominal GDP targeting framework and can at times be considered an improvement. However, unlike more conventional policies, the gold standard must react to shocks to the supply and demand for gold. We estimate the model for the post-2000 period using a novel dataset on the supply of gold and find that following a gold standard would result in dramatic increases in the volatilities of macroeconomic aggregates and a significant deterioration in household welfare. This is because the estimated shocks to gold supply and demand are significantly larger than for other more conventional aggregate shocks. In the end, what buries the gold standard turns out to be instability in the dynamics of gold itself.

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Suggested Citation

Diercks, Anthony M. and Rawls, Jonathan and Sims, Eric R., Bury the Gold Standard? A Quantitative Exploration (October 2020). NBER Working Paper No. w28015, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3731238

Anthony M. Diercks (Contact Author)

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System ( email )

20th Street and Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20551
United States

Jonathan Rawls

University of Notre Dame

Eric R. Sims

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor ( email )

500 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States

University of Notre Dame - Department of Economics ( email )

Notre Dame, IN 46556
United States

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