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Anchors Aweigh: The Transition from Commodity Money to Fiat Money in Western Economies

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  • Angela Redish

Abstract

In this paper, the author argues that the transition from commodity money to fiat money in the 1970s was a less dramatic change than suggested by a first glance at monetary history or monetary theory. She shows that, historically, the quantity of the commodity-based money was at the discretion of the monetary authority and how, over time, the desire to economize on the commodity backing led to national and international institutions that reduced the extent to which money issues under the commodity standard represented an explicit claim to an intrinsically valuable asset.

Suggested Citation

  • Angela Redish, 1993. "Anchors Aweigh: The Transition from Commodity Money to Fiat Money in Western Economies," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 26(4), pages 777-795, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:cje:issued:v:26:y:1993:i:4:p:777-95
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    Cited by:

    1. Michael D. Bordo & Marc Flandreau, 2003. "Core, Periphery, Exchange Rate Regimes, and Globalization," NBER Chapters,in: Globalization in Historical Perspective, pages 417-472 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Bordo, Michael D. & Jonung, Lars, 1994. "Monetary Regimes, Inflation and Monetary Reform: An Essay in Honor of Axel Leijonhufvud," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 16, Stockholm School of Economics.
    3. Charles Calomiris & David Wheelock, 1998. "Was the Great Depression a Watershed for American Monetary Policy?," NBER Chapters,in: The Defining Moment: The Great Depression and the American Economy in the Twentieth Century, pages 23-66 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Cory Cutsail & Farley Grubb, 2017. "The Paper Money of Colonial North Carolina, 1712-1774," NBER Working Papers 23783, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Braun, Benjamin, 2016. "Speaking to the people? Money, trust, and central bank legitimacy in the age of quantitative easing," MPIfG Discussion Paper 16/12, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
    6. repec:eee:jmacro:v:54:y:2017:i:pa:p:12-23 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. George Selgin, 2003. "Adaptive Learning and the Transition to Fiat Money," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(484), pages 147-165, January.

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