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Mining Gold for the Currency during the Pax Romana

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  • John Hartwick

    () (Queen's University)

Abstract

We set out a simple four sector macro model of the economy of the Roman Empire during a period of considerable economic prosperity. Our focus is on gold coins as currency and the seignorage which the government used to fund its activities. We solve numerically for a balanced growth representation of the economy of the empire, a solution that captures the intricacies of money creation, currency expansion and seignorage. We subscribe to the view that the exhaustion of low-cost gold and silver deposits contributed significantly to the ending of the economic prosperity enjoyed by Roman Italy and its provinces during the so-called Pax Romana (31 BC to 165 CE) and we attempt to capture significant shifts in variables during the decline.

Suggested Citation

  • John Hartwick, 2013. "Mining Gold for the Currency during the Pax Romana," Working Papers 1313, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:qed:wpaper:1313
    as

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    File URL: http://qed.econ.queensu.ca/working_papers/papers/qed_wp_1313.pdf
    File Function: First version 2013
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Robert M. Solow, 1956. "A Contribution to the Theory of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(1), pages 65-94.
    2. Peter Temin, 2001. "A Market Economy in the Early Roman Empire," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _039, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    3. Peter Temin, 2006. "The Economy of the Early Roman Empire," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 133-151, Winter.
    4. David Kessler & Peter Temin, 2007. "The organization of the grain trade in the early Roman Empire," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 60(2), pages 313-332, May.
    5. Peter Temin, 2001. "A Market Economy in the Early Roman Empire," Economics Series Working Papers 2001-W39, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    6. Blinder, Alan S. & Solow, Robert M., 1973. "Does fiscal policy matter?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(4), pages 319-337.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Seigniorage loss and the fall of the Roman Empire
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2013-09-27 19:27:00

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Roman money supply; gold coinage; money during Pax Romana;

    JEL classification:

    • E40 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - General
    • E10 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - General
    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative

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