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American Colonial Monetary Regimes: The Failure of the Quantity Theory and Some Evidence in Favor of an Alternate View

Working Paper 234 | Published September 1, 1984

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American Colonial Monetary Regimes: The Failure of the Quantity Theory and Some Evidence in Favor of an Alternate View

Abstract

Current approaches to monetary theory and policy owe much to the "quantity theory of money." However, recent theoretical developments suggest that the manner in which money is introduced is more important, even for price level movements, than the quantity of money. Colonial American experience provides a laboratory for discriminating between these views. It is shown here that the nature of backing, rather than the quantity of money, determined its value. Large secular inflations were ended by changing the nature of backing despite the continuance of large note issues (and despite the absence of a metallic standard). Extremely large note issues and note withdrawals are shown not to have produced inflation (currency depreciation) or deflation (currency appreciation).


Published in _The Canadian Journal of Economics / Revue canadienne d'Economique_ (vol. 18, no. 3, August 1985), pp. 531-565), https://doi.org/10.2307/135018.