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In order to form a more perfect monetary union

Author

Listed:
  • Arthur J. Rolnick
  • Bruce D. Smith
  • Warren E. Weber

Abstract

Why did states agree to a U.S. Constitution that prohibits them from issuing their own money? This article argues that two common answers to this question—a fear of inflation and a desire to control what money qualifies as legal tender—do not fit the facts. The article proposes a better answer: a desire to form a viable monetary union that both eliminates the variability of exchange rates between various forms of money and avoids the seigniorage problem that otherwise occurs in a fixed exchange rate system. Supporting evidence is offered from three periods of U.S. history: the colonial period (1690–1776), the Revolutionary War (1776–83), and the Confederation period (1783–89). This article is adapted from a chapter prepared for a forthcoming book, Varieties of Monetary Reforms: Lessons and Experiences on the Road to Monetary Union, edited by Pierre Siklos, to be published by Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Suggested Citation

  • Arthur J. Rolnick & Bruce D. Smith & Warren E. Weber, 1993. "In order to form a more perfect monetary union," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall, pages 2-13.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmqr:y:1993:i:fall:p:2-13:n:v.17no.4
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Grubb, Farley, 2004. "The circulating medium of exchange in colonial Pennsylvania, 1729-1775: new estimates of monetary composition, performance, and economic growth," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 41(4), pages 329-360, October.
    2. Peter L. Rousseau, 2010. "Monetary Policy and the Dollar," NBER Chapters,in: Founding Choices: American Economic Policy in the 1790s, pages 121-149 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Russell Cooper & Hubert Kempf, 2000. "Designing Stabilization Policy in a Monetary Union," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0529, Econometric Society.
    4. Barry Eichengreen, 2008. "Sui Generis EMU," NBER Working Papers 13740, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Hugh Rockoff, 1999. "How Long Did It Take the United States to Become an Optimal Currency Area?," Departmental Working Papers 199910, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
    6. Farley Grubb, 2003. "Creating the U.S. Dollar Currency Union, 1748–1811: A Quest for Monetary Stability or a Usurpation of State Sovereignty for Personal Gain?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1778-1798, December.

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    Keywords

    Banks and banking - History ; Money theory;

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