The Validity of International Gold Movement Statistics

By Oskar Morgenstern | Go to book overview

II. Uses of Gold Movement Statistics

The statistics of international gold movements are used primarily for two general purposes: (1) broad observations of long- run behavior of, say, gold and prices, using years as the minimum unit, and (2) the study of the fine structure of international economic interaction, as described, for example, by the variants of the theory of the gold standard and various theories of adjustment of balances of payments. For the latter, monthly data are indispensable.4 Obviously, the criteria of the usefulness of the data must be taken from the maximal requirements to be made for them. At the same time, it must be emphasized that the maximal requirements set in this study are not different from those used in the past and that none exceed those which have been made, tacitly or openly, by persons using such statistics, or should have been made had the subject even been touched on by these writers. 5

Gold statistics fall into two main parts: production and movements. Both are domestic and international. We are here concerned only with gold movements across national borders. If monetary gold movements could be separated from industrial-- in all respects--this would be highly desirable since the indirect effects of gold as an industrial commodity upon the price system and upon the international accounts are much less important and less direct than its monetary effects.

The separation of monetary and non-monetary gold is neither simple nor conclusive. Gold can move from one category into the other even within one country and domestic gold production can affect the stocks of both. During the classical gold standard period it was impossible to know, in the vast majority of cases, whether gold leaving and arriving came from one or the other of these sources and whether it was going--or in which proportions--to industrial or monetary use. If monetary and non-monetary gold

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4
If practicable, one might choose weekly or daily data as even better fitting the ideas of the underlying mechanisms.
5
There are important and widely quoted empirical investigations in which the question of the accuracy of the gold movement data is not once mentioned! The data are often subjected to elaborate calculations--and similarly far-reaching conclusions are drawn.

-5-

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The Validity of International Gold Movement Statistics
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Tables and Charts *
  • The Author *
  • I. Introduction 1
  • Ii. Uses of Gold Movement Statistics 5
  • Iii. the Test of Validity 9
  • V. Summary and Conclusions 38
  • Appendix 41
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