The debasement puzzle

An essay on medieval monetary history

Arthur J Rolnick, François R. Velde, Warren E. Weber

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

24 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We establish several facts about medieval monetary debasements: they were followed by unusually large minting volumes and by increased seigniorage; old and new coins circulated concurrently; and, at least some of the time, coins were valued by weight. These facts constitute a puzzle because debasements provide no additional inducements to bring coins to the mint. On theoretical and empirical grounds, we reject explanations based on by-tale circulation, nominal contracts, and sluggish price adjustment. We conclude that debasements pose a challenge to monetary economics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)789-808
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Economic History
Volume56
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996

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Price adjustment
Seigniorage
Monetary economics
Inducement
Coins
Medieval Period
Monetary History
Economics
Mint

Cite this

The debasement puzzle : An essay on medieval monetary history. / Rolnick, Arthur J; Velde, François R.; Weber, Warren E.

In: Journal of Economic History, Vol. 56, No. 4, 01.01.1996, p. 789-808.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Rolnick, Arthur J ; Velde, François R. ; Weber, Warren E. / The debasement puzzle : An essay on medieval monetary history. In: Journal of Economic History. 1996 ; Vol. 56, No. 4. pp. 789-808.
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