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Highlights of the Bullionist Controversy

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This paper surveys the literature of the Bullionist controversy which dominated the development of Classical monetary economics between 1797 and the early 1820s. It highlights the contributions of Henry Thornton to the early phase of the debate, particularly his refutation of the Real Bill doctrine, and of David Ricardo to its later phases. The role of the Real Bills doctrine in the evidence given by directors of the Bank of England to the Bullion Committee of 1810 is also analysed. Ricardo's subsequent work on the resumption of convertibility, and the dissenting, sometimes inflationist, opinions of Thomas Attwood and the Birmingham School are then discussed. The paper ends with a brief account of how the Bullionist controversy influenced the later development of classical monetary economics in the 19th century.

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  • David Laidler, 2000. "Highlights of the Bullionist Controversy," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 20002, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwo:uwowop:20002
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    File URL: https://ir.lib.uwo.ca/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1346&context=economicsresrpt
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    Cited by:

    1. Robert L. Hetzel, 2016. "The Rise and Fall of the Quantity Theory in Nineteenth Century Britain: Implications for Early Fed Thinking," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Q4, pages 281-320.
    2. Thomas M. Humphrey, 2003. "Classical deflation theory," Working Paper 03-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, revised 2003.
    3. Joshua R. Hendrickson, 2018. "The Bullionist Controversy: Theory and New Evidence," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 50(1), pages 203-241, February.
    4. Andreas Dombret & Otto Lucius (ed.), 2013. "Stability of the Financial System," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 15454, September.
    5. Gertrude Tumpel-Gugerell, 2013. "Lender of Last Resort - Which Institution Could Best Fulfill this Function?," Chapters, in: Andreas Dombret & Otto Lucius (ed.),Stability of the Financial System, chapter 24, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    6. Arie Arnon, 2007. "The Early Round Of The Bullionist Debate 1800-1802: Boyd, Baring And Thornton’S Innovative Ideas," Working Papers 0714, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Department of Economics.
    7. P.Antipa, 2014. "How Fiscal Policy Affects the Price Level: Britain’s First Experience with Paper Money," Working papers 525, Banque de France.
    8. Antipa, P., 2013. "Fiscal Sustainability and the Value of Money: Lessons from the British Paper Pound, 1797-1821," Working papers 466, Banque de France.

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