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The Continental Dollar: How Much Was Really Issued?

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  • Farley Grubb

Abstract

The U.S. Congress issued paper money called Continental Dollars to finance the American Revolution. The story of the Continental Dollar is familiar to all -- a lot were issued and hyper-inflation ensued. However, the details of this story are less well known. Scholars even disagree over how much was issued -- disagree by over 50 percent. Meaningful monetary analysis of the Continental Dollar cannot proceed given this confusion in the data. Evidence is gathered here to reconcile past estimates and establish the exact amount and time path of Continental Dollars emitted thereby overcoming the entropy that has crept into the historical record.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13047.

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Date of creation: Apr 2007
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Publication status: published as Grubb, Farley, 2008. "The Continental Dollar: How Much Was Really Issued?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 68(01), pages 283-291, March.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13047

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  1. Garber, Peter M., 1991. "Alexander Hamilton's market-based debt reduction plan," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 79-104, January.
  2. Calomiris, Charles W., 1988. "Institutional Failure, Monetary Scarcity, and the Depreciation of the Continental," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, vol. 48(01), pages 47-68, March.
  3. Michener, Ron, 1988. "Backing Theories and the Currencies of Eighteenth-Century America: A Comment," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, vol. 48(03), pages 682-692, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Farley Grubb, 2008. "The Distribution of Congressional Spending During the American Revolution, 1775-1780: The Problem of Geographic Balance," Working Papers, University of Delaware, Department of Economics 08-21, University of Delaware, Department of Economics.
  2. Farley Grubb, 2011. "State Redemption of the Continental Dollar, 1779-1790," Working Papers, University of Delaware, Department of Economics 11-08, University of Delaware, Department of Economics.
  3. Farley Grubb, 2008. "The Continental Dollar: What Happened to It after 1779?," NBER Working Papers 13770, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Farley Grubb, 2011. "The Continental Dollar: Initial Design, Ideal Performance, and the Credibility of Congressional Commitment," NBER Working Papers 17276, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Peter L. Rousseau, 2013. "Politics on the road to the U.S. monetary union," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 13-00006, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.

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