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Gresham's law or Gresham's fallacy?

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  • Arthur J. Rolnick
  • Warren E. Weber
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    Abstract

    In this article, the authors argue the answer to their title depends on whether a qualifier is added to the standard version of the law that "bad money drives out good." By examining several historical episodes, they find instances where bad money (valued more at the mint than in the market) failed to drive out good money (valued less at the mint than in the market). Rolnick and Weber next explain why the common qualifier to this law, which requires the mint to fix the rate of exchange at face value, does not reinstate the law. The common qualifier fails to give plausible reasons for how the mint price of money can coexist with a different market price. They then propose a new qualifier to Gresham's Law and argue its validity: bad money drives out good only when there are significant costs to using the good money at a premium.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its journal Quarterly Review.

    Volume (Year): (1986)
    Issue (Month): Win ()
    Pages: 17-24

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    Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmqr:y:1986:i:win:p:17-24:n:v.10no.1

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    Related research

    Keywords: Money ; Gresham's law;

    References

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    1. Thomas J. Sargent & Neil Wallace, 1983. "A model of commodity money," Staff Report 85, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:
    1. Ling-Fan Li, 2009. "After the Great Debasement, 1544-51: did Gresham’s Law apply?," Economic History Working Papers 27874, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
    2. Flandreau, Marc R, 2002. ""Water Seeks a Level": Modeling Bimetallic Exchange Rates and the Bimetallic Band," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 34(2), pages 491-519, May.
    3. Stefan E. Oppers, 1995. "A Model of the Bimetallic System," IMF Working Papers 95/144, International Monetary Fund.
    4. Caprio, Gerard Jr. & Dooley, Michael & Leipziger, Danny & Walsh, Carl, 1996. "The lender of last resort function under a currency board : the case of Argentina," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1648, The World Bank.
    5. 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.
    6. Lorenzo Bini-Smaghi & Silvia Vori, 1993. "Is there a “triffin dilemma†for the EMS?," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 4(2), pages 175-188, June.
    7. Y. -Y. Kim, 2004. "Gresham's law in the late Chosun Korea," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(15), pages 979-984.
    8. Jon R. Moen & Ellis W. Tallman, 2003. "New York and the politics of central banks, 1781 to the Federal Reserve Act," Working Paper 2003-42, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    9. Svensson, Roger, 2013. "Re-Coinage as a Monetary Tax: Conditions, Consequences and Comparisons with Debasement," Working Paper Series 950, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    10. Easton, Steve, 2007. "Valuing coins as the sum of the underlying asset and a perpetual American put option," Global Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 397-402, 03.
    11. John H. Munro, 2009. "Coinage and Monetary Policies in Burgundian Flanders during the late-medieval 'Bullion Famines',. 1384 - 1482," Working Papers tecipa-361, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.

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