From Publishers Weekly
From Charlemagne's introduction of the silver penny in 800 AD to about the middle of the 19th century, small denomination coins were a headache for governments (due to production costs and constant shortages and depreciations); it was often more profitable for owners to melt down the small coins to make larger denominations. In The Big Problem of Small Change, Stanford University economics professor Thomas J. Sargent and Federal Reserve Bank economist Franeois R. Velde describe how economists finally solved this problem by introducing fiat money (coins whose value was symbolic), paving the way for modern forms of currency and credit. This elegantly written, scholarly work will appeal to those interested in financial history or monetary theory.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Winner of the 2003 for Best Professional/Scholarly Book in Business Management & Accounting, Association of American Publishers
"The core of [the] story is a mathematical model, in this case one that captures possible solutions to the small-change puzzle, including the correct one. . . . For centuries, authorities sensed that economic health depended on the steady, predictable availability of currency. But they did not understand how to realize this goal. Messrs. Sargent and Velde deserve credit for revealing how the correct model came into being. . . . More than a penny for their thoughts."--Paul Podolsky, The Wall Street Journal
"This fascinating new history of money shows that the key ingredients of a sound currency were identified in Europe hundreds of years ago. The mystery is why, even today, so many governments fail to put this knowledge to work."--The Economist
"This elegantly written, scholarly work will appeal to those interested in financial history or monetary theory."--Publishers Weekly
"[The authors'] design serves as a temple for the conduct of research in economics as an empirical science. They have done it just right. Their book is strongly recommended."--Choice
"This is an important and wide-ranging book, which will reshape the way in which we think of the origins of modern money and modern monetary theory. It is . . . so well organized that the lay reader can get the message simply by reading the fascinating narrative and taking for granted the mathematical account of the standard formula, presented in two chapters at the conclusion. It is also splendidly illustrated and beautifully produced."--Harold James, Times Literary Supplement
"A remarkable book. . . . The Big Problem of Small Change
is an impressive piece of scholarship that should be of interest to most economists, not just to economic historians. It offers a coherent model of money that helps explain a recurring problem that can arise with a commodity of money system and that provides the basis for understanding a solution to this problem."--Arthur J. Rolnick and Warren E. Weber, Journal of Political Economy
"[H]istorically-minded readers will have traversed an insightful and entertaining exploration of European monetary history and of the writings of early monetary thinkers . . . with as much enjoyment in the reading as the authors seem to have taken in the research and writing."--Robert W. Dimand, History of Economic Ideas