IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/fip/fedhwp/98103.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Understanding Money Using Historical Evidence

Author

Abstract

Debates about the nature and economic role of money are mostly informed by evidence from the 20th century, but money has existed for millennia. We argue that there are many lessons to be learned from monetary history that are relevant for current topics of policy relevance. The past acts as a source of evidence on how money works across different situations, helping to tease out features of money that do not depend on one time and place. A close reading of history also offers testing grounds for models of economic behavior and can thereby guide theories on how money is transmitted to the real economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Adam Brzezinski & Nuno Palma & Francois R. Velde, 2024. "Understanding Money Using Historical Evidence," Working Paper Series WP 2024-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhwp:98103
    DOI: 10.21033/wp-2024-10
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.chicagofed.org/-/media/publications/working-papers/2024/wp2024-10.pdf?sc_lang=en
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.21033/wp-2024-10?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 2004. "A New Measure of Monetary Shocks: Derivation and Implications," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 1055-1084, September.
    2. Palma, Nuno, 2018. "Money and modernization in early modern England," Financial History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 25(3), pages 231-261, December.
    3. Jordà, Òscar & Schularick, Moritz & Taylor, Alan M., 2020. "The effects of quasi-random monetary experiments," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 22-40.
    4. Broadberry,Stephen & Campbell,Bruce M. S. & Klein,Alexander & Overton,Mark & van Leeuwen,Bas, 2015. "British Economic Growth, 1270–1870," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107070783, November.
    5. Chen, Yao & Palma, Nuno & Ward, Felix, 2021. "Reconstruction of the Spanish money supply, 1492–1810," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 81(C).
    6. Christiano, Lawrence J. & Eichenbaum, Martin & Evans, Charles L., 1999. "Monetary policy shocks: What have we learned and to what end?," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 65-148, Elsevier.
    7. Lawrence J. Christiano & Roberto Motto & Massimo Rostagno, 2003. "The Great Depression and the Friedman-Schwartz hypothesis," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 1119-1215.
    8. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2014. "This Time is Different: A Panoramic View of Eight Centuries of Financial Crises," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 15(2), pages 215-268, November.
    9. Matthias Doepke & Martin Schneider, 2017. "Money as a Unit of Account," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 85, pages 1537-1574, September.
    10. Thomas J. Sargent, 1982. "The Ends of Four Big Inflations," NBER Chapters, in: Inflation: Causes and Effects, pages 41-98, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Stephen D. Williamson & Randall Wright, 2010. "New monetarist economics: methods," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, vol. 92(May), pages 265-302.
    12. Quinn, Stephen & Roberds, William, 2014. "How Amsterdam got fiat money," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 1-12.
    13. Thomas J. Sargent, 2008. "Evolution and Intelligent Design," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 5-37, March.
    14. Thomas J. Sargent & Neil Wallace, 1984. "Some Unpleasant Monetarist Arithmetic," Palgrave Macmillan Books, in: Brian Griffiths & Geoffrey E. Wood (ed.), Monetarism in the United Kingdom, pages 15-41, Palgrave Macmillan.
    15. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2009. "Varieties of Crises and Their Dates," Introductory Chapters, in: This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly, Princeton University Press.
    16. François R. Velde, 2009. "Chronicle of a Deflation Unforetold," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(4), pages 591-634, August.
    17. Williamson, Stephen & Wright, Randall, 2010. "New Monetarist Economics: Models," Handbook of Monetary Economics, in: Benjamin M. Friedman & Michael Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Monetary Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 2, pages 25-96, Elsevier.
    18. Roger Svensson & Andreas Westermark, 2020. "Renovatio Monetae: When Gesell Taxes Worked," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 61(2), pages 821-846, May.
    19. Salemi, Michael K & Sargent, Thomas J, 1979. "The Demand for Money during Hyperinflation under Rational Expectations: II," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 20(3), pages 741-758, October.
    20. Rodney Edvinsson, 2012. "Early modern copper money: multiple currencies and trimetallism in Sweden 1624-1776," European Review of Economic History, European Historical Economics Society, vol. 16(4), pages 408-429, November.
    21. James Cloyne & Patrick Hürtgen, 2016. "The Macroeconomic Effects of Monetary Policy: A New Measure for the United Kingdom," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 75-102, October.
    22. Santarosa, Veronica Aoki, 2015. "Financing Long-Distance Trade: The Joint Liability Rule and Bills of Exchange in Eighteenth-Century France," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 75(3), pages 690-719, September.
    23. Bordo, Michael D. & White, Eugene N., 1991. "A Tale of Two Currencies: British and French Finance During the Napoleonic Wars," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 51(2), pages 303-316, June.
    24. Bordo Michael D. & Kydland Finn E., 1995. "The Gold Standard As a Rule: An Essay in Exploration," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 423-464, October.
    25. Palma, Nuno & Charotti, Carlos Javier & dos Santos, Joao Pereira, 2022. "American treasure and the decline of Spain," CEPR Discussion Papers 17020, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    26. Carlos Álvarez-Nogal & Leandro Prados De La Escosura & Carlos Santiago-Caballero, 2016. "Spanish agriculture in the little divergence1,2," European Review of Economic History, European Historical Economics Society, vol. 20(4), pages 452-477.
    27. Sargent, Thomas J & Velde, Francois R, 1995. "Macroeconomic Features of the French Revolution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(3), pages 474-518, June.
    28. Palma, Nuno & Reis, Jaime, 2019. "From Convergence to Divergence: Portuguese Economic Growth, 1527–1850," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 79(2), pages 477-506, June.
    29. Sussman, Nathan & Zeira, Joseph, 2003. "Commodity money inflation: theory and evidence from France in 1350-1436," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(8), pages 1769-1793, November.
    30. Michael D. Bordo, 1995. "The Gold Standard as a `Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval'," NBER Working Papers 5340, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    31. Nuno Palma, 2018. "Reconstruction of money supply over the long run: the case of England, 1270–1870," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 71(2), pages 373-392, May.
    32. Dunning,Thad, 2012. "Natural Experiments in the Social Sciences," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107017665, November.
    33. Herman J. Jong & Nuno Palma, 2018. "Historical National Accounting," Palgrave Studies in Economic History, in: Matthias Blum & Christopher L. Colvin (ed.), An Economist’s Guide to Economic History, chapter 46, pages 395-403, Palgrave Macmillan.
    34. Alvarez-Nogal, Carlos & Escosura, Leandro Prados de la & Santiago-Caballero, Carlos, 2016. "Spanish Agriculture in the Little Divergence," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 270, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    35. Leandro Prados de la Escosura & Carlos Álvarez-Nogal & Carlos Santiago-Caballero, 2022. "Growth recurring in preindustrial Spain?," Cliometrica, Springer;Cliometric Society (Association Francaise de Cliométrie), vol. 16(2), pages 215-241, May.
    36. Nuno Palma, 2022. "The Real Effects of Monetary Expansions: Evidence from a Large-scale Historical Experiment," The Review of Economic Studies, Review of Economic Studies Ltd, vol. 89(3), pages 1593-1627.
    37. Dunning,Thad, 2012. "Natural Experiments in the Social Sciences," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107698000, November.
    38. Vincent Bignon & Marc Flandreau & Stefano Ugolini, 2012. "Bagehot for beginners: the making of lender‐of‐last‐resort operations in the mid‐nineteenth century," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 65(2), pages 580-608, May.
    39. Patrick K. O'Brien & Nuno Palma, 2023. "Not an ordinary bank but a great engine of state: The Bank of England and the British economy, 1694–1844," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 76(1), pages 305-329, February.
    40. Emi Nakamura & Jón Steinsson, 2018. "Identification in Macroeconomics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 32(3), pages 59-86, Summer.
    41. Pezzolo, Luciano & Tattara, Giuseppe, 2008. "“Una fiera senza luogo†: Was Bisenzone an International Capital Market in Sixteenth-Century Italy?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 68(4), pages 1098-1122, December.
    42. William Roberds & Stephen Quinn, 2007. "The Bank of Amsterdam and the Leap to Central Bank Money," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 262-265, May.
    43. Hanhui Guan & Nuno Palma & Meng Wu, 2022. "The Rise and Fall of Paper Money in Yuan China, 1260-1368," Economics Discussion Paper Series 2207, Economics, The University of Manchester, revised Jan 2024.
    44. Lucas, Robert Jr, 1976. "Econometric policy evaluation: A critique," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 19-46, January.
    45. Stefano Ugolini, 2017. "The Evolution of Central Banking: Theory and History," Palgrave Studies in Economic History, Palgrave Macmillan, number 978-1-137-48525-0, December.
    46. Drelichman, Mauricio, 2005. "The curse of Moctezuma: American silver and the Dutch disease," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 349-380, July.
    47. Bordo, Michael D. & Rockoff, Hugh, 1996. "The Gold Standard as a “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approvalâ€," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 56(2), pages 389-428, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Nuno Palma, 2019. "The Real Effects of Monetary Expansions: Evidence from a Large-Scale Historical Natural Experiment," Economics Discussion Paper Series 1904, Economics, The University of Manchester, revised Aug 2021.
    2. Patrick K. O'Brien & Nuno Palma, 2023. "Not an ordinary bank but a great engine of state: The Bank of England and the British economy, 1694–1844," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 76(1), pages 305-329, February.
    3. Karaman, K. Kıvanç & Pamuk, Şevket & Yıldırım-Karaman, Seçil, 2020. "Money and monetary stability in Europe, 1300–1914," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 279-300.
    4. Adam Brzezinski & Yao Chen & Nuno Palma & Felix Ward, 2019. "The vagaries of the sea: evidence on the real effects of money from maritime disasters in the Spanish Empire," Working Papers 0170, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    5. Patrick K. O’Brien & Nuno Palma, 2019. "Danger To The Old Lady Of Threadneedle Street? The Bank Restriction Act And The Regime Shift To Paper Money, 1797-18211," Working Papers 0082, Utrecht University, Centre for Global Economic History.
    6. Nuno Palma & André C. Silva, 2024. "Spending A Windfall," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 65(1), pages 283-313, February.
    7. Mr. Barry J. Eichengreen & Ms. Asmaa A ElGanainy & Rui Pedro Esteves & Kris James Mitchener, 2019. "Public Debt Through the Ages," IMF Working Papers 2019/006, International Monetary Fund.
    8. Carlos J. Charotti & Nuno Palma & João Pereira dos Santos, 2022. "American Treasure and the Decline of Spain," Economics Discussion Paper Series 2201, Economics, The University of Manchester.
    9. Monnet, Eric & Velde, François R., 2020. "Money, Banking, and Old-School Historical Economics," CEPR Discussion Papers 15348, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Barry Eichengreen & Asmaa El-Ganainy & Rui Esteves & Kris James Mitchener, 2019. "Public Debt Through the Ages," NBER Working Papers 25494, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Kenny, Seán & Lennard, Jason & Turner, John D., 2021. "The macroeconomic effects of banking crises: Evidence from the United Kingdom, 1750–1938," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 79(C).
    12. Leticia Arroyo Abad & Nuno Palma, 2020. "The Fruits of El Dorado: The Global Impact of American Precious Metals," Working Papers 0179, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    13. Alisdair McKay & Christian K. Wolf, 2023. "What Can Time‐Series Regressions Tell Us About Policy Counterfactuals?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 91(5), pages 1695-1725, September.
    14. Bordo, Michael & James, Harold, 2014. "The European Crisis in the Context of the History of Previous Financial Crises," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 39(PB), pages 275-284.
    15. Mike Anson & David Bholat & Miao Kang & Ryland Thomas, 2017. "The Bank of England as Lender of Last Resort: New historical evidence from daily transactional data," Working Papers 0117, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    16. Homburg, Stefan, 2017. "A Study in Monetary Macroeconomics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198807537, Decembrie.
    17. Masciandaro, Donato & Goodhart, Charles & Ugolini, Stefano, 2021. "Pandemic recession and helicopter money: Venice, 1629–1631," Financial History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 28(3), pages 300-318, December.
    18. P.Antipa, 2014. "How Fiscal Policy Affects the Price Level: Britain’s First Experience with Paper Money," Working papers 525, Banque de France.
    19. Kim Oosterlinck, 2013. "Sovereign debt defaults: insights from history," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press and Oxford Review of Economic Policy Limited, vol. 29(4), pages 697-714, WINTER.
    20. Carolyn Sissoko, 2022. "Becoming a central bank: The development of the Bank of England's private sector lending policies during the Restriction," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 75(2), pages 601-632, May.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Monetary policy; Monetary History; Natural Experiments;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E40 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - General
    • E50 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - General
    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedhwp:98103. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Lauren Wiese (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/frbchus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.