Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date

Fall 9-2017

JEL Codes

e42, g21, n11

Working Paper Number

2017-05

Abstract

In recent years, there has been a revival of privately issued money. Due to the general lack of successful or even widely circulating private currency, it can be challenging to get a clear view of its efficiency using modern data. The U.S. historical period, however, offers a unique environment to examine the topic as private bank money made up a sizable portion of the money supply. Moreover, the period presents a wide range of regulation, including spans with and without the presence of a central bank or monetary authority. This chapter begins by highlighting the general history of privately issued money in the United States from 1790 through its elimination in the 1930s. Topics include the rise of state bank notes, the switch to national bank notes, clearinghouse currency, the Aldrich-Vreeland emergency currency associations, and the decline of private currency. It then examines open topics in the literature and provides suggestions for study going forward.

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