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The Invention of Inflation-Indexed Bonds in Early America

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Abstract

The world is first known inflation-indexed bonds were issued by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1780 during the Revolutionary War. These bonds were invented to deal with severe wartime inflation and with angry discontent among soldiers in the U.S. Army with the decline in purchasing power of their pay. Although the bonds were successful, the concept of indexed bonds was abandoned after the immediate extreme inflationary environment passed, and largely forgotten until the twentieth century. In 1780, the bonds were viewed as at best only an irregular expedient, since there was no formulated economic theory to justify indexation.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert J. Shiller, 2003. "The Invention of Inflation-Indexed Bonds in Early America," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1442, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  • Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1442
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    File URL: http://cowles.yale.edu/sites/default/files/files/pub/d14/d1442.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Robert J. Shiller, 1991. "Arithmetic Repeat Sales Price Estimators," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 971, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    2. John Y. Campbell & Robert J. Shiller, 1996. "A Scorecard for Indexed Government Debt," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1996, Volume 11, pages 155-208 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Willard C. Fisher, 1913. "The Tabular Standard in Massachusetts History," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 27(3), pages 417-454.
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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Financial Innovation and Risk Management
      by Steve Cecchetti and Kim Schoenholtz in Money, Banking and Financial Markets on 2014-12-29 19:17:22

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    Cited by:

    1. Chen, Ren-Raw & Liu, Bo & Cheng, Xiaolin, 2010. "Pricing the term structure of inflation risk premia: Theory and evidence from TIPS," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 702-721, September.
    2. Gilbert Cette & Marielle de Jong, 2013. "Breakeven inflation rates and their puzzling correlation relationships," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(18), pages 2579-2585, June.
    3. repec:udt:wpbsdt:nombre_del_archivo is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Guido Sandleris & Mark L.J. Wright, 2013. "GDP-Indexed Bonds: A Tool to Reduce Macroeconomic Risk?," Chapters in SUERF Studies, SUERF - The European Money and Finance Forum.
    5. Laura Alfaro & Fabio Kanczuk, 2006. "Sovereign Debt: Indexation and Maturity," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 1578, Inter-American Development Bank.
    6. Morten Balling & Ernest Gnan & Johannes Holler, 2013. "Introduction and Key Findings," Chapters in SUERF Studies, SUERF - The European Money and Finance Forum.
    7. Ben Kyer & Gary Maggs, 2009. "On Indexed Bonds and Aggregate Demand Elasticity," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 37(1), pages 17-21, March.
    8. Morten Balling & Ernest Gnan & Johannes Holler & Ulrich Bindseil & Nicolas Sauter & Hans J. Blommestein & Maria Cannata & Juha Kilponen & Alessandro Missale & Ewald Nowotny & Guido Sandleris & Mark L., 2013. "The Future of Sovereign Borrowing in Europe," SUERF Studies, SUERF - The European Money and Finance Forum, number 2013/5 edited by Morten Balling & Ernest Gnan & Johannes Holler.
    9. Cohen, Joseph N & Linton, April, 2010. "The historical relationship between inflation and political rebellion, and what it might teach us about neoliberalism," MPRA Paper 22522, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Ewald Nowotny, 2013. "Opening Address SUERF/OeNB/BWG Conference on ‘The Future of Sovereign Borrowing in Europe’," Chapters in SUERF Studies, SUERF - The European Money and Finance Forum.
    11. Morten Balling & Ernest Gnan & Johannes Holler & Ulrich Bindseil & Nicolas Sauter & Hans J. Blommestein & Maria Cannata & Juha Kilponen & Alessandro Missale & Ewald Nowotny & Guido Sandleris & Mark L., 2013. "The Future of Sovereign Borrowing in Europe," SUERF Studies, SUERF - The European Money and Finance Forum, number 2013/5 edited by Morten Balling & Ernest Gnan & Johannes Holler.
    12. Hans J. Blommestein, 2013. "Forces Shaping the OECD Sovereign Borrowing Outlook with Emphasis on the Challenges for European Sovereign Issuers," Chapters in SUERF Studies, SUERF - The European Money and Finance Forum.
    13. Juan Angel Garcia & Adrian van Rixtel, 2007. "Inflation-linked bonds from a central bank perspective," Occasional Papers 0705, Banco de España;Occasional Papers Homepage.
    14. Juha Kilponen, 2013. "European Debt Crisis and Crisis Resolution Policies," Chapters in SUERF Studies, SUERF - The European Money and Finance Forum.
    15. Ulrich Bindseil, 2013. "The Role of Sovereign Debt in Monetary Policy Implementation – An International Comparative Perspective," Chapters in SUERF Studies, SUERF - The European Money and Finance Forum.
    16. Laura Alfaro & Fabio Kanczuk, 2006. "Deuda soberana: indexación y vencimiento," Research Department Publications 4460, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    17. Maria Cannata, 2013. "Risk Management of a Public Debt Portfolio: The Italian Experience," Chapters in SUERF Studies, SUERF - The European Money and Finance Forum.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Indexation; Inflation History; Inflation-Indexed Securities; Inflation-Protected Securities; Index-linked gilts; Tabular Standard; United States; Massachusetts;

    JEL classification:

    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation

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