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Coin Sizes And Payments In Commodity Money Systems

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  • Redish, Angela
  • Weber, Warren E.

Abstract

Contemporaries, and economic historians, have noted several features of medieval and early modern European monetary systems that are hard to analyze using models of centralized exchange. For example, contemporaries complained of recurrent shortages of small change and argued that an abundance/dearth of money had real effects on exchange. To confront these facts, we build a random matching monetary model with two indivisible coins with different intrinsic values. The model shows that small change shortages can exist in the sense that adding small coins to an economy with only large coins is welfare improving. This effect is amplified by increases in trading opportunities. Further, changes in the quantity of monetary metals affect the real economy and the amount of exchange as well as the optimal denomination size. Finally, the model shows that replacing full-bodied small coins with tokens is not necessarily welfare improving.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal Macroeconomic Dynamics.

Volume (Year): 15 (2011)
Issue (Month): S1 (April)
Pages: 62-82

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Handle: RePEc:cup:macdyn:v:15:y:2011:i:s1:p:62-82_00

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  1. François R. Velde & Warren E. Weber, 1998. "A model of bimetallism," Working Papers 588, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  2. Redish,Angela, 2000. "Bimetallism," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521570916, October.
  3. Vincent Bignon & Richard Dutu, 2006. "Moneychangers and Commodity Money," EconomiX Working Papers 2006-9, University of Paris West - Nanterre la Défense, EconomiX.
  4. Francois R. Velde & Warren E. Weber & Randall Wright, . "A Model of Commodity Money, With Application to Gresham's Law and the Debasement Puzzle," CARESS Working Papres 97-7, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
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Cited by:
  1. Angela Redish & Warren E. Weber, 2011. "A model of commodity money with minting and melting," Staff Report 460, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  2. Stephen D. Williamson & Randall Wright, 2010. "New Monetarist Economics: models," Staff Report 443, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  3. Farley Grubb, 2012. "Chronic Specie Scarcity and Efficient Barter: The Problem of Maintaining an Outside Money Supply in British Colonial America ," Working Papers 12-08, University of Delaware, Department of Economics.

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