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Banque centrale, taux de l'escompte et politique monétaire chez Henry Thornton (1760-1815)

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  • Mésonnier, J-S.

Abstract

Henry Thornton (1760-1815), whose major work - An Enquiry into the Nature and Effects of the Paper Credit of Great Britain - is celebrating its bicentennary in 2002, is considered today to be one of the most prominent classical monetary economist, in particular with regard to its seminal contribution to the theory of the lender of last resort. However, Thornton's original views about the rate of interest on bank credit have barely been commented so far. In this paper, we endeavour to link these views with his theory of central banking in order to demonstrate that Thornton advocated an active use of the Bank of England's discount rate for monetary policy purpose, i.e. to safeguard the value of money, instead of any direct action on the quantity of circulating banknotes. Nevertheless, Thornton does not appear to have conceived the Bank's rate as a true " key rate " of the credit market as in modern terms.

Suggested Citation

  • Mésonnier, J-S., 2002. "Banque centrale, taux de l'escompte et politique monétaire chez Henry Thornton (1760-1815)," Working papers 98, Banque de France.
  • Handle: RePEc:bfr:banfra:98
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    Keywords

    History of the economic thought; central banking; interest rate; monetary policy.;

    JEL classification:

    • B12 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Classical (includes Adam Smith)
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies

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