The Efficiency of the Chinese Silver Standard, 1920–1933

Nuno Palma, Liuyan Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


We test for integration of financial markets in China during 1920-1933 using a new dataset of domestic exchange rates. Our data concerns tael-denominated telegraphic transfers between Shanghai and nine other cities. We find that Chinese financial markets, as measured by the efficiency of silver-point arbitrage, were highly integrated among major commercial hubs in north and central China, but there was a lower level of integration for more remote cities in the south. Our paper presents the first comprehensive assessment of the efficiency of the Chinese silver standard and contributes to a revaluation of market performance during pre-communist China.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)872-908
Number of pages37
JournalThe Journal of Economic History
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 3 Sept 2021


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