Miscounting Money of Colonial America
AbstractFarley Grubb has developed an ambitious new money-stock time series for colonial Pennsylvania that uses the ingenious method of examining newspaper advertisements promising rewards (e.g., for help in catching runaway slaves) to estimate monies in circulation (Grubb 2004). Grubb asserts that promises of reward payments in â€œpoundsâ€ refer to bills of credit. We contest his interpretation, arguing that â€œpoundsâ€ denotes merely a unit of account. Similarly, ads promising â€œdollarsâ€ cannot be taken to refer to silver coins. Grubb mistakes the mention of a unit of account for the specification of a medium of exchange. We also show that Grubbâ€™s methods are riddled with misinterpretations and inconsistencies, some of which arise from rather serious errors in basic scholarship. For example, Grubb denies that bills of credit readily passed current across the Middle Colonies, although it is a well-established fact. To concede it, however, would upset both his colony-level money supply estimates and his argument that the Constitutional ban on state-issued paper money had nothing to do with seigniorage. Grubbâ€™s time series differs significantly from spot estimates of the money supply arrived at using methods that Grubb himself champions elsewhere, as well as estimates based on archival data.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Econ Journal Watch in its journal Econ Journal Watch.
Volume (Year): 3 (2006)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
money supply; specie; paper money; bills of credit; Pennsylvania; Maryland; Delaware; New Jersey; New York; colonial American history;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- N11 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
- N21 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
- N41 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
- E59 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Other
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- Farley Grubb, 2012.
"Chronic Specie Scarcity and Efficient Barter: The Problem of Maintaining an Outside Money Supply in British Colonial America ,"
12-08, University of Delaware, Department of Economics.
- Farley Grubb, 2012. "Chronic Specie Scarcity and Efficient Barter: The Problem of Maintaining an Outside Money Supply in British Colonial America," NBER Working Papers 18099, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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