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An economic explanation of the early Bank of Amsterdam, debasement, bills of exchange, and the emergence of the first central bank

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  • Stephen Quinn
  • William Roberds

Abstract

The Bank of Amsterdam, founded in 1609, was the first public bank to offer accounts not directly convertible to coin. As such, it can be described as the first true central bank. The debut of central bank money did not result from any conscious policy decision, however, but instead arose almost by accident, in response to the chaotic monetary conditions during the early years of the Dutch Republic. This paper examines the history of this momentous development from the perspective of modern monetary theory.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta in its series Working Paper with number 2006-13.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedawp:2006-13

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  1. Stephen Quinn & William Roberds, 2005. "The big problem of large bills: the Bank of Amsterdam and the origins of central banking," Working Paper 2005-16, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  2. Sussman, Nathan & Zeira, Joseph, 2003. "Commodity money inflation: theory and evidence from France in 1350-1436," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(8), pages 1769-1793, November.
  3. Thomas J. Sargent & Francois R. Velde, 1997. "The big problem of small change," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues WP-97-08, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  4. Redish, Angela, 1990. "The Evolution of the Gold Standard in England," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 50(04), pages 789-805, December.
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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Quinn S. and Roberds W. (2006) When financial innovation's good for the economy
    by Ben in Economic History Blog on 2009-08-18 19:37:00
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Cited by:
  1. Norman, Ben & Shaw, Rachel & Speight, George, 2011. "The history of interbank settlement arrangements: exploring central banks’ role in the payment system," Bank of England working papers 412, Bank of England.
  2. Stephen Quinn & William Roberds, 2010. "How Amsterdam got fiat money," Working Paper 2010-17, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  3. Stephen Quinn & William Roberds, 2012. "The Bank of Amsterdam through the lens of monetary competition," Working Paper 2012-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  4. Roberds, William & Velde, Francois R., 2014. "Early Public Banks," Working Paper Series WP-2014-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  5. Börner, Lars & Hatfield, John William, 2010. "The economics of debt clearing mechanisms," Discussion Papers 2010/27, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
  6. Kahn, Charles M. & Roberds, William, 2009. "Why pay? An introduction to payments economics," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 1-23, January.

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