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Chicago. Final Examinations for International Economics. Metzler, 1947-48


The University of Chicago’s intermediate economics course “International Economic Relations”, Economics 270, dropped its international trade component to go full international macro (i.e. exchange rates and balance of payments) with Lloyd A. Metzler’s appointment. The course description for 1947-48 did not reflect the change in emphasis (the updated description is found below in the course description for 1948-49)  but it is clear from the examination questions for both the summer quarters of 1947 and 1948 transcribed for this posting that the  syllabus for the Autumn quarter of 1949 must have been essentially the same for those earlier courses.


[Course Description, 1948-1949]

[Economics] 270. INTERNATIONAL ECONOMICS. The nature of international payments and receipts; foreign trade and the banking system. The gold standard in the interwar period. The breakdown of the gold standard and the period of fluctuating exchange rates. Exchange controls, clearing agreements and payments agreements. The second world war and the foreign exchange markets. The position of the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development in the present world economy. Prereq: Econ 209, 230 [Intermediate Economic Theory, Introduction to Money and Banking, respectively], or equiv. Sum: TuThS 11; Win: MWF 9:30; Metzler.


Source: University of Chicago. Announcements, Volume XLVIII, Number 4: The College and the Divisions, Sessions of 1948-1949, May 25, 1948, p. 249.



Econ. 270
Exam Summer 1947

Answer one question from each part


  1. Discuss the role played by either long-term or short-term capital movements in the U. S. balance of payments during the inter-war period.
  2. Discuss the origin of the Sterling area, indication [sic] what distinguished this area from other currency systems, and how the system operated before the war.
  3. Distinguish between intended and unintended neutralization of gold movements, and indicate what bearing neutralization had on the operation of the gold standard in the inter-war years.


  1. Show how the German exchange clearing system led to bilateral trade, and discuss the disadvantages of bilateralism.
  2. Present a program of your own for international currency reform, and show how your program would solve some of the problems of the interwar period.
  3. Evaluate a system of flexible exchange rates as a means of adjusting balance of payments.


Economics 270
Summer 1948

Answer two questions, including I

  1. About two weeks ago, the New Zealand government announced an appreciation of its currency, from £N.Z. 1.25 = £1.00 sterling to £N.Y. 1.00 = £1.00 sterling. Bearing in mind the following information, discuss the probable reasons for and probable consequences of this move.


1946 Dec. 1947

May 1948

Gold Holdings (millions of dollars)


23 23


Foreign exchange Holdings (millions of dollars)


365 300


Currency and Deposits (millions of N.Z. pounds)


168 175


Cost of Living Index


123 133


Wholesale Prices:

Home goods


132 156


Import-type goods


171 191


Index of Export Prices


141 193


Total value of trade (millions of N.Z. [pounds]



98 128*



72 128*

*all of 1947

  1. “The balance of payments on current accounts determines the amount of the net change in a country’s claims against other countries. The capital accounts simply show the form in which these claims are held.” Discuss carefully, using any numerical examples you deem appropriate.
  2. Write a brief essay on the relation of currency values to the prospects for European recovery.



Source: Duke University. David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library. Lloyd Appleton Metzler Papers, Box 9, Folder “Course Exams 270-271”.

Source Image: “From family album, taken while Lloyd Metzler was a student at Harvard.”
“Lloyd A. Metzler” by Margiemetz – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

Irwin Collier

Posted by: Irwin Collier