Did the Philippine Islands have a currency board during the American colonization period?
Abstract. The Philippine monetary system and data from 1903-1948are examined, using general observations and statistical tests to determine to what extent the system operated as a currency board. This paper makes detailed annual balance sheets of the monetary system available in machine-readable form for the first time, in a companion Excel workbook.
Keywords. Philippines, Currency board, Gold standard fund, Currency reserve fund, Exchange standard fund.JEL. E59, N15.
Note on statistical sources: During the American colonization period, the Philippines was ruled by a U.S.-appointed military governor from 1898-1901, by a U.S.-appointed civilian governor-general from 1901-1935, and by a locally elected president from 1935 until independence in 1946. During the Japanese occupation period of World War II, a Japanese military governor ruled from 1942-1945, but this paper for the most part omits that period. During the period of a U.S.-appointed governor, the governor produced an annual summary of Philippine government affairs for the U.S. Bureau of Insular Affairs, a division of the War Department (a predecessor to today’s Department of Defense). More detailed information on the monetary system was available in the annual report of the Treasurer and later also in a separate annual report by the Banking Commissioner. Starting in 1918 the Philippine government began issuing a statistical bulletin, and in 1940 and 1946 it published statistical yearbooks. The Japanese occupation interrupted the publication of the annual reports from 1941 until after the war.
The references include sources referred to only in the accompanying spreadsheet workbook. Links listed below were valid as of August 2017.
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