Between 1797 and 1821, Britain suspended the gold standard in order to finance the Napoleonic Wars. This measure was accompanied by large scale debt accumulation and inflation: After Napoleon’s final defeat at Waterloo in 1815, the debt to GDP ratio had climbed to 226%; the price level exceeded its 1797 level by 22.3%. Under these circumstances and given that institutional settings allowed excluding the possibility of strategic default, I will show that expectations of how debt would be stabilized in the future shaped the observed evolution of the price level. Thus, my contribution establishes the importance of fiscal determinants of the price level.
Classification JEL : N13, N23, N43, C22
Keywords : Debt monetization, sovereign debt, inflation, structural breaks
Updated on: 06/12/2018 11:00