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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: https://cowles.yale.edu/sites/default/files/files/pub/d14/d1442.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Robert J. Shiller, 1991. "Arithmetic Repeat Sales Price Estimators," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 971, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    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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    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. 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.
    4. Laura Alfaro & Fabio Kanczuk, 2006. "Sovereign Debt: Indexation and Maturity," Research Department Publications 4459, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    5. Guido Sandleris & Mark J.L Wright, 2013. "GDP-Indexed Bonds: A Tool to Reduce Macroeconomic Risk?," Business School Working Papers 2013-02, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella.
    6. repec:udt:wpbsdt:nombre_del_archivo is not listed on IDEAS
    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, August.
    9. Laura Alfaro & Fabio Kanczuk, 2006. "Deuda soberana: indexación y vencimiento," Research Department Publications 4460, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    10. Juan Angel Garcia & Adrian van Rixtel, 2007. "Inflation-linked bonds from a central bank perspective," Occasional Papers 0705, Banco de España.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    JEL classification:

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

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