In This Review

U.S. International Monetary Policy
U.S. International Monetary Policy
By John S. Odell
Princeton University Press, 1982, 385 pp

This excellent book does two things exceptionally well. First, it assembles and adds to the evidence about three major episodes in American international financial policy: the proposal in the 1960s to create SDRs instead of relying on the dollar as the sole reserve currency; the 1971 closing of the gold window; and the subsequent move to floating exchange rates. Second, Professor Odell analyzes each of these decisions by positing a number of possible explanatory factors. The crucial ingredients differ in each case, but it turns out that in this field two major factors are the pressures of the international economy and the ideas and perceptions of highly placed American officials about the kind of international monetary system that makes sense. While not the last word on any of these subjects, this well-written book should become necessary reading.