Canada played an important role in the postwar establishment of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), yet it was also the first major member to challenge the orthodoxy of the BrettonWoods par value system by abandoning it in 1950 in favour of a floating, market-determined exchange rate.
This paper revisits Canada's pioneering experience with floating exchange rate over the period 1950–1962. It examines whether the floating rate was the best option for Canada in the 1950s by developing and estimating a New Keynesian small open economy model of the Canadian economy.
Bordo and Redish examine the evolution of central banking over the past 70 years and identify periods where Canada was either a notable innovator with regard to central banking practices or appeared to be following a slightly different course. They note that global forces seemed to play an important role in determining inflation outcomes throughout the 70-year period, and that Canada and the United States experienced roughly similar inflation rates despite some important differences in their monetary policy regimes. Canada, for example, was comparatively late in establishing a central bank, launching the Bank of Canada long after most other industrial countries had one. Canada also operated under a flexible exchange rate through much of the Bretton Woods period, unlike any other country in the 1950s and early 1960s; adopted inflation targets well before most other central banks; and introduced a number of other innovative changes with regard to the implementation of monetary policy in the 1990s.