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Private Money Production without Banks

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  • Gary B. Gorton

Abstract

I test the Dang, Gorton, and Holmström (2018) (DGH) theory that the optimal design of private money is debt backed by debt. I do this in the context of English inland bills of exchange (where all parties to the bill were in England), which were used as a medium of exchange during the Industrial Revolution in the north of England in the eighteenth and first half of the nineteenth centuries. These bills circulated via indorsements, committing each indorser’s personal wealth to back the bill. A sample of bills from the period 1762-1850 is studied to determine how frequently they changed hands (liquidity/velocity) and to determine how their credibility was established. Some bills were backed by banks and others by the joint liability of indorsers only. I test the DGH theory by asking: Were bank-backed bills more liquid than the joint liability-backed bills?

Suggested Citation

  • Gary B. Gorton, 2020. "Private Money Production without Banks," NBER Working Papers 26663, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:26663
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E02 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - Institutions and the Macroeconomy
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages

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