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The Economics of International Monies

Author

Listed:
  • Gerald P. Dwyer Jr.

    (The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta)

  • James R. Lothian

    (Fordham University)

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to examine the history of international monies and the theory related to their adoption and use. We summarize the history of international monies, beginning with a discussion of the gold solidus introduced in the fourth century by the Emperor Constantine, continuing with the currencies of the Italian city states and ending with the currencies that have functioned as international monies from the early modern period to the present. We identify four key characteristics of these currencies: high unitary value; relatively low inflation rates for long periods; issuance by major economic and trading powers; and spontaneous, as opposed to planned, adoption internationally. We conclude with a theoretical discussion of these common characteristics that explains much of this history.

Suggested Citation

  • Gerald P. Dwyer Jr. & James R. Lothian, 2003. "The Economics of International Monies," International Finance 0311010, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpif:0311010
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 37
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hélène Rey, 2001. "International Trade and Currency Exchange," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(2), pages 443-464.
    2. Barro, Robert J & Gordon, David B, 1983. "A Positive Theory of Monetary Policy in a Natural Rate Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(4), pages 589-610, August.
    3. Lopez, Robert Sabatino, 1951. "The Dollar of the Middle Ages," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(03), pages 209-234, June.
    4. Selgin, George A, 1994. "On Ensuring the Acceptability of a New Fiat Money," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 26(4), pages 808-826, November.
    5. Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro & Wright, Randall, 1989. "On Money as a Medium of Exchange," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 927-954, August.
    6. Arthur J. Rolnick & Francois R. Velde & Warren E. Weber, 1997. "The debasement puzzle: an essay on medieval monetary history," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall, pages 8-20.
    7. Harold Demsetz, 1968. "The Cost of Transacting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 82(1), pages 33-53.
    8. Darby, Michael R. & Lothian, James R. & Gandolfi, Arthur E. & Schwartz, Anna J., 1983. "The International Transmission of Inflation," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 0, number 9780226136417, May.
    9. Trejos, Alberto & Wright, Randall, 1995. "Search, Bargaining, Money, and Prices," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(1), pages 118-141, February.
    10. Gerald P. Dwyer & James R. Lothian, 2002. "International money and common currencies in historical perspective," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2002-7, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    11. Michael D. Bordo, 1993. "The Bretton Woods International Monetary System: A Historical Overview," NBER Chapters,in: A Retrospective on the Bretton Woods System: Lessons for International Monetary Reform, pages 3-108 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bagella, Michele & Becchetti, Leonardo & Hasan, Iftekhar, 2004. "The anticipated and concurring effects of the EMU: exchange rate volatility, institutions and growth," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 23(7-8), pages 1053-1080.
    2. Ewe-Ghee Lim, 2006. "The Euro’s Challenge to the Dollar; Different Views from Economists and Evidence from COFER (Currency Composition of Foreign Exchange Reserves) and Other Data," IMF Working Papers 06/153, International Monetary Fund.
    3. Michele Bagella & Leonardo Becchetti & Iftekhar Hasan, 2004. "The Anticipated and Concurring Effects of the EMU," CEIS Research Paper 55, Tor Vergata University, CEIS.
    4. Elias Papaioannou & Richard Portes, 2008. "The international role of the euro: a status report," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 317, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E42 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Monetary Sytsems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System
    • F33 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Monetary Arrangements and Institutions
    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative

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