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The Economics of International Monies

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  • Gerald P. Dwyer Jr.

    (The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta)

  • James R. Lothian

    (Fordham University)

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to examine the history of international monies and the theory related to their adoption and use. We summarize the history of international monies, beginning with a discussion of the gold solidus introduced in the fourth century by the Emperor Constantine, continuing with the currencies of the Italian city states and ending with the currencies that have functioned as international monies from the early modern period to the present. We identify four key characteristics of these currencies: high unitary value; relatively low inflation rates for long periods; issuance by major economic and trading powers; and spontaneous, as opposed to planned, adoption internationally. We conclude with a theoretical discussion of these common characteristics that explains much of this history.

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File URL: http://128.118.178.162/eps/if/papers/0311/0311010.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by EconWPA in its series International Finance with number 0311010.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: 17 Nov 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpif:0311010

Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 37
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Web page: http://128.118.178.162

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  1. Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro & Wright, Randall, 1989. "On Money as a Medium of Exchange," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 927-54, August.
  2. Rey, Hélène, 1999. "International Trade and Currency Exchange," CEPR Discussion Papers 2226, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Trejos, Alberto & Wright, Randall, 1995. "Search, Bargaining, Money, and Prices," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(1), pages 118-41, February.
  4. Rolnick, Arthur J. & Velde, François R. & Weber, Warren E., 1996. "The Debasement Puzzle: An Essay on Medieval Monetary History," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 56(04), pages 789-808, December.
  5. Michael D. Bordo, 1992. "The Bretton Woods International Monetary System: An Historical Overview," NBER Working Papers 4033, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Selgin, G., 1993. "On Ensuring the Acceptability of a New Fiat Money," Papers 368, Georgia - College of Business Administration, Department of Economics.
  7. Barro, Robert J & Gordon, David B, 1983. "A Positive Theory of Monetary Policy in a Natural Rate Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(4), pages 589-610, August.
  8. Gerald P. Dwyer, Jr. & James R. Lothian, 2002. "International money and common currencies in historical perspective," Working Paper 2002-7, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  9. Michael R. Darby & James R. Lothian & Arthur E. Gandolfi & Anna J. Schwartz & Alan C. Stockman, 1983. "The International Transmission of Inflation," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number darb83-1.
  10. Lopez, Robert Sabatino, 1951. "The Dollar of the Middle Ages," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(03), pages 209-234, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Ewe-Ghee Lim, 2006. "The Euro's Challenge to the Dollar," IMF Working Papers 06/153, International Monetary Fund.
  2. Elias Papaioannou & Richard Portes, 2008. "The international role of the euro: a status report," European Economy - Economic Papers 317, Directorate General Economic and Monetary Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
  3. Michele Bagella & Leonardo Becchetti & Iftekhar Hasan, 2004. "The Anticipated and Concurring Effects of the EMU," CEIS Research Paper 55, Tor Vergata University, CEIS.
  4. Bagella, Michele & Becchetti, Leonardo & Hasan, Iftekhar, 2004. "The anticipated and concurring effects of the EMU: exchange rate volatility, institutions and growth," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 23(7-8), pages 1053-1080.
  5. Bagella , Michele & Becchetti , Leonardo & Hasan , Iftekhar, 2004. "The anticipated and concurring effects of EMU: exchange rate volatility, institutions and growth," Research Discussion Papers 15/2004, Bank of Finland.

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