Floating exchange rates at fifty


March 23, 8:45 AM EDT to March 24, 2023, 12:30 PM EDT
PIIE Webcast, Washington, DC

Conference Organizers: Douglas A. Irwin (PIIE), Maurice Obstfeld (PIIE) and Adam S. Posen (PIIE)


Introduction and Welcome: Adam S. Posen (PIIE)

Thursday March 23, 2023, 8:45 AM EDT

Panel 1. From There to Here: 1973 Expectations and 2023 Reality

Thursday March 23, 2023, 9:00 AM EDT

Chair: Maurice Obstfeld (Nonresident Senior Fellow, PIIE; Professor of Economics, University of California, Berkeley)


  • Robert Aliber (Professor Emeritus of International Economics and Finance, University of Chicago)
  • C. Fred Bergsten (Nonresident Senior Fellow and Director Emeritus, PIIE)
  • Anne O. Krueger (Senior Fellow, School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University)
  • Richard Portes (Professor of Economics, London Business School)
  • Edwin M. Truman (Senior Fellow, Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government, Harvard Kennedy School)

Panel 2. The post-1973 Currency Regime and Inflation Experiences

Thursday March 23, 2023, 11:00 AM EDT

Chair: Adam Posen (President, PIIE)


  • José De Gregorio (Nonresident Senior Fellow, PIIE; Dean of the School of Economics and Business, University of Chile)
  • Kristin J. Forbes (Professor of Management and Global Economics, MIT Sloan School of Management)
  • Philip R. Lane (Member of the Executive Board and Chief Economist, European Central Bank)
  • Catherine L. Mann (Member of the Monetary Policy Committee, Bank of England)

Panel 3. Europe, China, and the Dollar's Competitive Position 50 Years On

Thursday March 23, 2023, 1:45 PM EDT

Chair: Joseph E. Gagnon (Senior Fellow, PIIE)


  • Harold James (Professor of History and International Affairs, Princeton School of Public and International Affairs)
  • Katheryn Russ (Nonresident Senior Fellow, PIIE; Professor of Economics, University of California, Davis)
  • Linda Tesar (Professor of Economics, University of Michigan)
  • Shang-Jin Wei (N.T. Wang Professor of Chinese Business and Economy, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University)

Panel 4. US and Dollar Dominance in the International Monetary System

Thursday March 23, 2023, 3:30 PM EDT

Chair Nathan Sheets (Global Chief Economist, Citi)


  • Ṣebnem Kalemli-Özcan (Neil Moskowitz Endowed Professor of Economics, University of Maryland)
  • Philippe Martin (Dean of the School of Public Affairs and Professor of Economics, Sciences Po, Paris)
  • Eswar Prasad (Tolani Senior Professor of Trade Policy, Cornell University)
  • Masazumi Wakatabe (Professor of Economics, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan; Former Deputy Governor, Bank of Japan)

Introductory remarks by Maurice Obstfeld (PIIE)

Friday March 24, 2023, 8:45 AM EDT

Panel 5. Emerging and Developing Countries in the Floating Rate Era

Friday March 24, 2023, 9:15 AM EDT

Chair: Douglas A. Irwin (Nonresident Senior Fellow, PIIE; Professor of Economics, Dartmouth College)


  • Muhamad Chatib Basri (Senior Lecturer, University of Indonesia; Chairman, PT Bank Mandiri Tbk)
  • Adnan Mazarei (Nonresident Senior Fellow, PIIE)
  • Andrés Velasco (Dean of the School of Public Policy, London School of Economics)

Panel 6. Can the Dollar-Based System Be Improved or Replaced?

Friday March 24, 2023, 10:45 AM EDT

Chair: Jeffrey A. Frankel (James W. Harpel Professor of Capital Formation and Growth, Harvard Kennedy School)


  • Jeffry Frieden (Professor of Government, Harvard University)
  • Linda Goldberg (Financial Research Advisor, Federal Reserve Bank of New York)
  • Yanliang Miao (Chief Economist, State Administration of Foreign Exchange, China)
  • Hélène Rey (Professor of Economics, London Business School)
  • Hyun Song Shin (Economic Adviser and Head of Research, Bank for International Settlements)

Concluding Remarks: Douglas A. Irwin (PIIE) and Maurice Obstfeld

Friday March 24, 2023, 12:15 PM EDT


Event Summary

Fifty years ago, in March 1973, the major industrial economies abandoned fixed exchange rates based on gold, conclusively ending the post–World War II Bretton Woods arrangements. Proponents believed their action would strengthen countries' ability to deal with balance of payment problems. But opponents feared it would instigate a new era of instability and financial shocks. Since 1973, the world has moved away from fixed exchange rates to intermediate regimes based on considerable exchange rate flexibility. But international trade conflicts and unstable capital flows, along with a rise in financial crises around the world, have nonetheless accompanied the global shift away from exchange rate pegs.

How has the international monetary system performed over the past half century—if it can even be called a "system"? What have we learned from the experience of more flexible exchange rates? What has been the impact on macroeconomic and financial stability in the years since? This conference brought together leading economists and policymakers to debate and discuss these questions, as well as to think about the evolution of the international monetary system, the dominance of the US dollar, and the role of exchange rate regimes in shaping the world economy.

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