Arthur J. Rolnick - Senior Vice President and Director of Research, 1985-2010
Warren E. Weber - Retired Economist
Revised October 1, 1995
Our study examines whether there is a systematic relationship between the monetary standard under which a country operates and the rate of inflation it experiences. It also explores whether there are other properties of inflation, money, and output that differ between economies operating under a commodity standard and economies operating under a fiat standard. The basis for our study is price, money, and output data for 15 countries that have operated under both types of monetary standards. For each of these countries the data cover 80 years, and for most the data cover more than 100 years. With these data we are able to establish several facts about the differences in inflation, money growth, and output growth between economies operating under commodity standards and those operating under fiat standards. Specifically, we find that the following facts emerge when comparing commodity standards to fiat standards: inflation, money growth, and output growth are all lower; growth rates of monetary aggregates are less highly correlated with each other; growth rates of monetary aggregates are less highly correlated with inflation; and growth rates of monetary aggregates are more highly correlated with output growth.
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