Discussion paper

DP18972 Understanding money using historical evidence

Debates about the nature and economic role of money are mostly informed by evidence from the 20th century, but money has existed for millennia. We argue that there are many lessons to be learned from monetary history that are relevant for current topics of policy relevance. The past acts as a source of evidence on how money works across different situations, helping to tease out features of money that do not depend on one time and place. A close reading of history also offers testing grounds for models of economic behavior and can thereby guide theories on how money is transmitted to the real economy.


Brzezinski, A, N Palma and F Velde (2024), ‘DP18972 Understanding money using historical evidence‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 18972. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp18972