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Irving Fisher and Price-Level Targeting in Austria: Was Silver the Answer?

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  • Richard C.K. Burdekin
  • Kris James Mitchener
  • Marc D. Weidenmier

Abstract

The question of price level versus inflation targeting remains controversial. Disagreement concerns, not so much the desirability of price stability, but rather the means of achieving it. Irving Fisher argued for a commodity dollar standard where the purchasing power of money was fixed by indexing it to a basket of commodities. We show that movements in the price of silver closely track the movements in overall prices during the classical gold standard era. The one-to-one relationship between paper and silver bonds suggests that a simple "silver rule" could have sufficed to fix the purchasing power of money.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard C.K. Burdekin & Kris James Mitchener & Marc D. Weidenmier, 2011. "Irving Fisher and Price-Level Targeting in Austria: Was Silver the Answer?," NBER Working Papers 17123, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17123
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Bordo, Michael D. & Rockoff, Hugh, 2013. "The Influence Of Irving Fisher On Milton Friedman’S Monetary Economics," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 35(02), pages 153-177, June.
    2. Binder, Carola Conces, 2016. "Estimation of historical inflation expectations," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 1-31.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E4 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • N1 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913

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