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Estimating the worldwide volume of counterfeit U.S. currency: data and extrapolation

Author

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  • Ruth Judson
  • Richard D. Porter

Abstract

The incidence of currency counterfeiting and the possible total stock of counterfeits in circulation are popular topics of speculation and discussion in the press and are of substantial practical interest to the U.S. Treasury and the U.S. Secret Service. This paper assembles data from Federal Reserve and U.S. Secret Service sources and presents a range of estimates for the number of counterfeits in circulation. In addition, the paper presents figures on counterfeit passing activity by denomination, location, and method of production. The paper has two main conclusions: first, the stock of counterfeits in the world as a whole is likely on the order of 1 or fewer per 10,000 in both piece and value terms; second, losses to the U.S. public from the most commonly used note, the $20, are relatively small, and are miniscule when only counterfeit notes of reasonable quality are considered.

Suggested Citation

  • Ruth Judson & Richard D. Porter, 2003. "Estimating the worldwide volume of counterfeit U.S. currency: data and extrapolation," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2003-52, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2003-52
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    File URL: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/feds/2003/200352/200352pap.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Edward J. Green & Warren E. Weber, 1996. "Will the new $100 bill decrease counterfeiting?," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Sum, pages 3-10.
    2. Yvan Lengwiler, 1997. "A model of money counterfeits," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 65(2), pages 123-132, June.
    3. Edgar L. Feige, 2005. "Overseas Holdings Of U.S.Currency And The Underground Economy," Macroeconomics 0501022, EconWPA.
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    Cited by:

    1. Berentsen, Aleksander & McBride, Michael & Rocheteau, Guillaume, 2017. "Limelight on dark markets: Theory and experimental evidence on liquidity and information," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 70-90.
    2. Bouhdaoui, Y. & Bounie, D. & Van Hove, L., 2013. "When do plastic bills lower the bill for the central bank? A model and estimates for the U.S," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 45-60.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Counterfeits and counterfeiting ; Dollar; American;

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