After completing my undergraduate and Masters degrees at University of Toronto in Economics, International Relations and Chinese Studies, I went to the London School of Economics to complete my PhD in Economic History. Since then I have held academic positions at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, Royal Holloway, University of London and University of Glasgow. I have also been visiting professor at Nankai University, China, and Hong Kong University. Outside academia I have spent time as a visiting researcher at the International Monetary Fund and at the Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research. I’m an Associate Fellow in international economics at Chatham House, London and I am on the Academic Council of the European Association of Banking and Financial History.
The Decline of Sterling; managing the retreat of an international currency 1945-1992, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010).
The demise of sterling as an international currency was widely predicted after 1945, but the process took thirty years to complete. Why was this demise so prolonged? Traditional explanations emphasize British efforts to prolong sterling's role because it increased the capacity to borrow, enhanced prestige, or supported London as a centre for international finance. This book challenges this view by arguing that sterling's international role was prolonged by the weakness of the international monetary system and by collective global interest in its continuation. Using the archives of Britain's partners in Europe, the USA and the Commonwealth, Catherine Schenk shows how the UK was able to convince other governments that sterling's international role was critical for the stability of the international economy and thereby attract considerable support to manage its retreat. This revised view has important implications for current debates over the future of the US dollar as an international currency.
International economic relations
International monetary system
International banking and finance
My research focuses on the development of the international economy since 1945 with particular emphasis on the evolution of international banking and finance and the international monetary system. My current funded project is Uses of the Past in International Economic Relations (UPIER) funded by the Humanities in the European Research Area. This project has partners in Sweden, Switzerland and Spain and focuses on how the past was interpreted and used by policy-makers and market actors during and after financial crises. I’m especially interested in the accumulation and restructuring of sovereign debt in the 1970s and 1980s. My other research focuses on the transitions between international currencies and proposals for reform of the international monetary system in the 1970s and 1980s and the development of international banking and financial regulation. Finally, I have a special interest in the history of China’s international economic relations through Hong Kong.
The Governance of the Bank for International Settlements 1973-2020
Promoting Global Monetary and Financial Stability: The Bank for International Settlements after Bretton Woods, 1973–2020
The changes in the structure, organization and governance of the BIS from the 1970s to the early 21st century were profoundly affected by international political change as well as the shifting pattern of global banking. The end of the Cold War and the rise of Asia rebalanced the global economy. At the same time these decades witnessed the explosion of international financial activity, rapid financial innovation and changes to the role and influence of central banks. The challenges posed by the transformation of international finance became even more profoundly important in the wake of the global financial crisis in 2007-8. But the structure and operations of the BIS also responded to internal pressures, especially changes in leadership and vision, and were constrained by the Bank’s formal Statutes from its founding in 1930. This chapter will explore how these external and internal pressures manifested themselves in the structures and governance of the BIS.
Central bank swaps then and now: swaps and dollar liquidity in the 1960s
BIS Working Papers
This paper explores the record of central bank swaps to draw out four themes. First, this recent device of central bank cooperation had a sustained pre-history from 1962-1998, surviving the transition from fixed to floating exchange rates. Second, Federal Reserve swap facilities have generally formed a part of a wider network of central bank swap lines. Third, we take issue with the view of swaps as previously used only to manage exchange rates and only more recently to manage offshore funding liquidity and yields. In particular, we spotlight how in the 1960s the Federal Reserve, working in conjunction with the BIS and European central banks, repeatedly used swaps to manage eurodollar funding liquidity and Libor yields. BIS, Bank of England and Swiss National Bank archives show an intention to offset seasonal disturbances to funding liquidity in order to prevent eurodollar yield spikes. Fourth, this earlier cooperation underscores the Federal Reserve’s use of swaps to prevent eurodollar shortages from interfering with the transmission of its domestic monetary policy. The US interest in the eurodollar market, and thus its self interest in central bank cooperation, is unlikely to end even when Libor is replaced as the benchmark for US floating-rate loans and mortgages.
monetary cooperation, central banks, global financial safety net, eurodollar
Origins of the Asia Dollar Market 1968-86: regulatory competition and complementarity in Hong Kong and Singapore
Financial History Review
Deutsche Bank: The Global Hausbank, 1870 – 2020
In this major work on the bank's history, Werner Plumpe, Alexander Nützenadel and Catherine R. Schenk deliver a vibrant account of the measures the bank undertook in order to address the profound upheavals of the period, as well as the ...
Business & Economics
The city and financial services: Historical perspectives on the brexit debate