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The big problem of small change

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  • Thomas J. Sargent
  • Francois R. Velde

Abstract

Western Europe was plagued with currency shortages from the 14th century, at which a 'standard formula' had been devised to cure the problem. We use a cash-in-advance model of commodity money to define a currency shortage, show that they could develop and persist under commodity money regime, and analyze the role played by each ingredient in the standard formula. A companion paper documents the evolution of monetary theory, monetary experiments and minting technology over the course of six hundred years.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas J. Sargent & Francois R. Velde, 1997. "The big problem of small change," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues WP-97-08, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhma:wp-97-08
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Redish, Angela, 1990. "The Evolution of the Gold Standard in England," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 50(04), pages 789-805, December.
    2. Diaz-Gimenez, Javier & Prescott, Edward C. & Fitzgerald, Terry & Alvarez, Fernando, 1992. "Banking in computable general equilibrium economies," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 16(3-4), pages 533-559.
    3. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1982. "Interest rates and currency prices in a two-country world," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 335-359.
    4. Thomas J. Sargent & Francois R. Velde, 1997. "The evolution of small change," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues WP-97-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    5. John Kareken & Neil Wallace, 1981. "On the Indeterminacy of Equilibrium Exchange Rates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 96(2), pages 207-222.
    6. Glassman, Debra & Redish, Angela, 1988. "Currency depreciation in early modern England and France," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 75-97, January.
    7. Sims, Christopher A, 1990. "Solving the Stochastic Growth Model by Backsolving with a Particular Nonlinear Form for the Decision Rule," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 8(1), pages 45-47, January.
    8. Helpman, Elhanan, 1981. "An Exploration in the Theory of Exchange-Rate Regimes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 865-890, October.
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    Keywords

    Monetary theory ; Money ; Money theory;

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