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Can Interest-Bearing Money Circulate? A Small-Denomination Arkansan Experiment, 1861-63




Legal restrictions theory suggests that dominance of non-interest-bearing currency is possible only because legal impediments prevent financial institutions from offering interest-bearing alternatives. A viable interest-bearing medium must be issued in denominations low enough for day-to-day use, however, and without historical examples of small-denomination interest-bearing issues we cannot properly test whether interest-bearing currency will circulate as legal restrictions theory predicts. Civil War Arkansas offers a rare instance where large quantities of small-denomination interest-bearing money were actually issued, mostly below $5. The results of this Arkansan experiment show that small-denomination interest-bearing issues can indeed function as the primary medium of exchange. Copyright 2008 The Ohio State University.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard C. K. Burdekin & Marc D. Weidenmier, 2008. "Can Interest-Bearing Money Circulate? A Small-Denomination Arkansan Experiment, 1861-63," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 40(1), pages 233-241, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:mcb:jmoncb:v:40:y:2008:i:1:p:233-241

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    Cited by:

    1. Kim, Young Sik & Lee, Manjong, 2012. "Intermediary cost and coexistence puzzle," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(1), pages 142-145.

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