Monetary Regimes and Inflation: History, Economic and Political Relationships

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E. Elgar, Jan 1, 2003 - Business & Economics - 210 pages
'Peter Bernholz's book brings together his comprehensive studies of inflation from the fourth century to the present, showing their common elements and their differences. This is an impressive work that bankers, central bankers, economists and laymen can read with pleasure and profit. I recommend it highly.' - Allan H. Meltzer, Carnegie Mellon University and American Enterprise Institute, US 'This book is about explaining inflation. It is written by one of the world's leading political economists. His comparison of 29 hyperinflations demonstrates the crucial role of political institutions and monetary regimes. the author's grasp of economic and political history is truly exceptional. the book fills a gap. It is the fruit of a lifelong occupation with the problem of inflation.' - Roland Vaubel, University of Mannheim, Germany This book explores the characteristics of inflations, comparing historical cases from Roman times up to the modern day. High and moderate inflations caused by the inflationary bias of political systems and economic relationships - and the importance of different monetary regimes in containing them - are analysed. Peter Bernholz demonstrates that certain macroeconomic traits have been stable characteristics of inflations over the centuries, and illustrates their causes; the development of real stock of money, real exchange rate, real budget deficit and of currency substitution. He goes on to explain that metallic monetary regimes allow substantial inflations by debasement - 4th century Roman Empire experiencing the highest of them - but are dwarfed by the experience of hyperinflations. These occurred only under discretionary paper money regimes. to demonstrate this and their characteristics, all twenty-nine hyperinflations are studied. In contrast to the existing literature, the book also examines political conditions that allow a return to stable monetary regimes, given the inflationary tendencies of political systems. Finally, economic measures and institutional reforms to end high and moderate inflations are discussed.

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Inflation and monetary regimes
Inflation under metallic monetary regimes
Moderate paper money inflations

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About the author (2003)

Peter Bernholz is Professor Emeritus of Economics in the Center for Economics and Business (WWZ) at the Universitaet Basel, Switzerland.

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