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Irving Fisher and Price‐Level Targeting in Austria: Was Silver the Answer?

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  • RICHARD C.K. BURDEKIN
  • KRIS JAMES MITCHENER
  • MARC D. WEIDENMIER

Abstract

The question of price level versus inflation targeting remains controversial. Disagreement concerns not so much the desirability of price stability but rather the means of achieving it. Irving Fisher argued for a commodity dollar standard where the purchasing power of money was fixed by indexing it to a basket of commodities. We show that movements in the price of silver closely track the movements in overall prices during the classical gold standard era. The one‐to‐one relationship between paper and silver bonds suggests that a simple “silver rule” could have sufficed to fix the purchasing power of money.

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  • Richard C.K. Burdekin & Kris James Mitchener & Marc D. Weidenmier, 2012. "Irving Fisher and Price‐Level Targeting in Austria: Was Silver the Answer?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 44(4), pages 733-750, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jmoncb:v:44:y:2012:i:4:p:733-750
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1538-4616.2012.00508.x
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E4 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • N1 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913

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