Nixon Shock


DEFINITION of 'Nixon Shock'

A term used to describe the actions taken by former U.S. President Richard Nixon in 1971 that eventually led to the collapse of the Bretton Woods system. The policies imposed and the actions taken by President Nixon included imposing a 90-day wage and price freeze in America, a 10% import surcharge and, most notably, closing the gold window, effectively making the U.S. dollar inconvertible to gold.


The ramifications of Nixon Shock rocked the global economic landscape. By closing the gold window, the United States made it impossible for other nations to peg their currency to the gold standard, which was the underlying principle behind the Bretton Woods system. As a direct result of the economic policies imposed by the United States at the time, the gold standard was all but abandoned and the world's major currencies began to float.

  1. International Monetary Fund - IMF

    An international organization created for the purpose of standardizing ...
  2. Gold Standard

    A monetary system in which a country's government allows its ...
  3. Fixed Exchange Rate

    A country's exchange rate regime under which the government or ...
  4. Bretton Woods Agreement

    A landmark system for monetary and exchange rate management established ...
  5. Floating Exchange Rate

    A country's exchange rate regime where its currency is set by ...
  6. Currency

    A generally accepted form of money, including coins and paper ...
Related Articles
  1. Fundamental Analysis

    How Influential Economists Changed Our History

    Find out how these five groundbreaking thinkers laid our financial foundations.
  2. Economics

    Understanding Supply-Side Economics

    Does the amount of goods and services produced set the pace for economic growth? Here are the arguments.
  3. Economics

    The History Of Economic Thought

    Economics is a vital part of every day life. Discover the major players who shaped its development.
  4. Economics

    A Practical Look At Microeconomics

    Learn how individual decision-making turns the gears of our economy.
  5. Options & Futures

    Explaining The World Through Macroeconomic Analysis

    From unemployment and inflation to government policy, learn what macroeconomics measures and how it affects everyone.
  6. Economics

    The Great Inflation Of The 1970s

    Political moves meant prevent unemployment served to do the opposite, creating one of the worst fiscal disasters of the century.
  7. Economics

    Why the Euro Failed to Become the World's Reserve Currency

    Examine the current state of the U.S. dollar as the world's reserve currency; learn the major reasons why the euro has failed to replace it in that capacity.
  8. Economics

    Should the Fed Be More Worried About Asset Bubbles?

    While the Fed should be concerned that assets bubbles might impact economic stability, monetary policy is not the best tool to mitigate this threat.
  9. Economics

    These Will Be the World's Top Economies in 2020

    Discover the current economic forces that are anticipated to significantly shift the landscape of the world's most powerful economies over the next decade.
  10. Stock Analysis

    The 5 Biggest Russian Oil Companies

    Discover the top Russian oil companies by production volume and find out more about their domestic and international business operations.
  1. Who decides to print money in Russia?

    The Central Bank of the Russian Federation (CBRF), like its peers in most countries, is the governmental entity responsible ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Who decides to print money in Canada?

    In Canada, new money comes from two places: the Bank of Canada (BOC) and chartered banks such as the Toronto Dominion Bank ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Who decides when to print money in India?

    The Reserve Bank of India, or RBI, manages currency in India. The bank's additional responsibilities include regulating the ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Is Japan an emerging market economy?

    Japan is not an emerging market economy. Emerging market economies are characterized by low per capita incomes, poor infrastructure ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. How is the Federal Reserve audited?

    Contrary to conventional wisdom, the Federal Reserve is extensively audited. Politicians on the left and right of a populist ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Who decides when to print money in the US?

    The U.S. Treasury decides to print money in the United States as it owns and operates printing presses. However, the Federal ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Section 1231 Property

    A tax term relating to depreciable business property that has been held for over a year. Section 1231 property includes buildings, ...
  2. Term Deposit

    A deposit held at a financial institution that has a fixed term, and guarantees return of principal.
  3. Zero-Sum Game

    A situation in which one person’s gain is equivalent to another’s loss, so that the net change in wealth or benefit is zero. ...
  4. Capitalization Rate

    The rate of return on a real estate investment property based on the income that the property is expected to generate.
  5. Gross Profit

    A company's total revenue (equivalent to total sales) minus the cost of goods sold. Gross profit is the profit a company ...
  6. Revenue

    The amount of money that a company actually receives during a specific period, including discounts and deductions for returned ...
Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!