Uncovering uncovered interest parity during the classical gold standard era, 1888-1905

When New York bankers
bought sterling low, or sold high,
they made good profits.

This paper examines the uncovered interest parity hypothesis using the dollar-sterling exchange rate during the gold standard era.

This period is interesting because the exchange rate was seasonal, because transactions costs were high, and because occasions when uncovered interest rate speculation did not occur can be identified.

The paper shows UIP speculation frequently did not occur, that speculation occurred more in response to expected exchange rate changes than interest rate differentials, and that profitability varied systematically with interest rate differentials. The estimated UIP equations are substantially improved by distinguishing occasions when sterling was borrowed not lent.