IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/cup/jechis/v56y1996i04p789-808_01.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Debasement Puzzle: An Essay on Medieval Monetary History

Author

Listed:
  • Rolnick, Arthur J.
  • Velde, François R.
  • Weber, Warren E.

Abstract

This study establishes several facts about medieval monetary debasements: they were followed by unusually large minting volumes and by increased seigniorage; old and new coins circulated concurrently; and, at least some of the time, coins were valued by weight. These facts constitute a puzzle because debasements provide no additional inducements to bring coins to the mint. On theoretical and empirical grounds, the authors reject explanations based on by-tale circulation, nominal contracts, and sluggish price adjustment. They conclude that debasements pose a challenge to monetary economics. This article was originally published in the Journal of Economic History (December 1996, vol. 56, no. 4, pp. 789--808). It is reprinted in the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Quarterly Review with the permission of Cambridge University Press.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:56:y:1996:i:04:p:789-808_01
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://journals.cambridge.org/abstract_S0022050700017472
    File Function: link to article abstract page
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. N. J. Mayhew, 1974. "Numismatic Evidence and Falling Prices in the Fourteenth Century," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 27(1), pages 1-15, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Stephen F. Quinn & William Roberds, 2005. "The big problem of large bills: the Bank of Amsterdam and the origins of central banking," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2005-16, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    2. Volckart, Oliver, 2008. "‘The big problem of the petty coins’, and how it could be solved in the late Middle Ages," Economic History Working Papers 22310, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
    3. 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.
    4. François R. Velde & Warren E. Weber & Randall Wright, 1999. "A Model of Commodity Money, with Applications to Gresham's Law and the Debasement Puzzle," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 2(1), pages 291-323, January.
    5. Manjong Lee & Neil Wallace, 2006. "Optimal divisibility when money is costly to produce," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 9(3), pages 541-556, July.
    6. Gerald P. Dwyer & James R. Lothian, 2002. "International money and common currencies in historical perspective," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2002-7, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    7. Young Sik Kim & Manjong Lee, 2011. "Unit of Account, Medium of Exchange, and Prices," Discussion Paper Series 1104, Institute of Economic Research, Korea University.
    8. 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.
    9. Gerald P. Dwyer Jr. & James R. Lothian, 2003. "The Economics of International Monies," International Finance 0311010, EconWPA.
    10. Warren E. Weber & Angela Redish, 2008. "A Model of Small Change Shortages," 2008 Meeting Papers 677, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    11. Oliver Volckart, 2007. "Rules, Discretion or Reputation? Monetary Policies and the Efficiency of Financial Markets in Germany, 14th to 16th Centuries," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2007-007, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
    12. Hernandez-Chanto, Allan, 2016. "The Extrinsic Value of Low-Denomination Money Holdings," MPRA Paper 72348, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 15 Jan 2016.
    13. Manjong Lee, 2007. "Indivisibility and Non-Neutrality of Money," Korean Economic Review, Korean Economic Association, vol. 23, pages 223-242.
    14. Von dem Berge, Lukas, 2014. "Parallel currencies in historical perspective," CAWM Discussion Papers 75, University of Münster, Center of Applied Economic Research Münster (CAWM).
    15. Volckart, Oliver, 2017. "Premodern debasement: a messy affair," Economic History Working Papers 86533, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
    16. Luciano Pezzolo, 2006. "The rise and decline of a great power: Venice 1250-1650," Working Papers 2006_27, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari".
    17. Gary B. Gorton, 2016. "The History and Economics of Safe Assets," NBER Working Papers 22210, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Isabel Schnabel & Hyun Song Shin, 2018. "Money and trust: lessons from the 1620s for money in the digital age," BIS Working Papers 698, Bank for International Settlements.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:56:y:1996:i:04:p:789-808_01. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Keith Waters). General contact details of provider: http://journals.cambridge.org/jid_JEH .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.