Currency Policy Then and Now: 30th Anniversary of the Plaza Accord

Thirty years ago, then U.S. Treasury Secretary James A. Baker, III, gathered fellow financial leaders of the world’s five largest economies at The Plaza Hotel in New York to agree to actively depreciate the dollar. The dollar’s significant decline made the Plaza Accord a uniquely successful example of currency policy coordination.

Is the Plaza Accord as significant as we think? Why has the Plaza coordination of 1985 never been successfully repeated? How do currency markets, major players and coordination possibilities work today? Do we need to manage a dollar depreciation today? Is there an alternative to currency manipulation and currency wars?

These questions have puzzled economists for three decades. On October 1, Secretary Baker and other key players from the Plaza summit, as well as top international economists and financial market participants, connected the dots between currency policy then and now. 




Watch video of Secretary Baker's keynote address below, and click on the links to view the entire conference:

To view the entire conference, please click below:

Opening Keynote - James A. Baker, III

Session 1

Luncheon - Paul Volcker

Session 2

Session 3


8:30 am



Breakfast and Registration

9:30 am



Keynote Address 

The Honorable James A. Baker, III
Honorary Chair, Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy

10:00 am



Session I – According to Them: Historians Reflect

Moderator: The Honorable Robert L. Clarke, Senior Partner, Bracewell & Giuliani LLP 

"Before the Plaza: The Exchange Rate Stabilization Attempts of 1925, 1933, 1936 and 1971"

Barry Eichengreen, Ph.D. 
George C. Pardee and Helen N. Pardee Professor of Economics and Political Science, University of California, Berkeley

"The Plaza Accord, 30 Years Later"

Jeffrey Frankel, Ph.D.
James W. Harpel Professor of Capital Formation and Growth, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

"The Plaza Agreement and Japan: Reflection on the 30th year Anniversary"

Takatoshi Ito, Ph.D.
Professor, School of International and Public Affairs, and Associate Director for Research, Center of Japanese Economy and Business, Columbia University

"Why Was the Plaza Accord Unique?"

Russell A. Green, Ph.D. 
Will Clayton Fellow in International Economics, Baker Institute

David H. Papell, Ph.D. 
Joel W. Sailors Endowed Professor and Chair, Department of Economics, University of Houston

Ruxandra Prodan, Ph.D. 
Clinical Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Houston 



Luncheon Address

An Interview with Paul Volcker – Recorded for the Conference
Former Chairman, Federal Reserve Board

1:30 pm  


Session II – In the Right Plaza at the Right Time: The Officials' View

Moderator: Charles Dallara, Ph.D., Partner and Vice Chairman, Partners Group Holding AG 

"The Plaza Agreement: Exchange Rates and Policy Coordination"

Edwin M. Truman, Ph.D. 
Nonresident Senior Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics

"The Plaza Accord Viewed from Japan"

Makoto Utsumi 
Chairman, Global Advisory Board, Tokai Tokyo Financial Holdings, Inc. 

"A Personal Account of the Plaza Accord of September 22, 1985"

The Honorable David C. Mulford, Ph.D. 
Vice Chairman, International Credit Suisse

3:30 pm  


Coffee Break

3:45 pm  


 Session III – Lasting Effects: Echoes of the Plaza Today

Moderator: Mark Sobel

"The International Monetary System in Perpetual Search of Stability"

Agnès Bénassy-Quéré, Ph.D.
Professor, Paris School of Economics; Chair, French Council of Economic Analysis

"Foreign Exchange Interventions Since Plaza: The Need for Global Currency Rules"

Joe Gagnon, Ph.D.
Senior Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics

"Time for Plaza II?"

C. Fred Bergsten, Ph.D.
Senior Fellow and Director Emeritus, Peterson Institute for International Economics

"A Rules-Based Cooperatively-Managed International Monetary System for the Future"

John B. Taylor, Ph.D.
Mary and Robert Raymond Professor of Economics and the George P. Shultz Senior Fellow in Economics, Stanford University 

5:30 pm  







Thu, Oct. 1, 2015
8:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.
(GMT-0500) US/Central

Event has ended


James A. Baker III Hall, Rice University
6100 Main St.
Houston, Texas 77005
United States

International Conference Facility