A New Approach to Explaining the Value of Colonial Paper Money: Evidence from New Jersey, 1709-1775
A new approach to explaining the value of colonial paper money that relies on their distinctive character as bills of credit is presented. The market value of these bills is decomposed into their real asset present value and their liquidity premium value. This approach is applied to the newly reconstructed monetary data for colonial New Jersey. The real asset present value of New Jersey bills accounted for at least 80 percent, whereas the value of these bills as “money” accounted for at most 10 to 20 percent, of their market value. Colonial paper money was not primarily a fiat currency.
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