Monetary Regimes and Inflation: History, Economic, and Political Relationships

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This book explores the characteristics of inflations, comparing historical cases from Roman times up to the modern day.

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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 analyzed. 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.

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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.

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Finally, economic measures and institutional reforms to end high and moderate inflations are discussed. This book by one of the world's leading scholars on monetary inflation and the institutional settings for money creation is a mine of information not only for students, but also for economists, historians, political scientists and sociologists; it is of relevance also for bankers, businessmen and politicians.

His most recent book, Monetary Regimes and Inflation, is the kind of effort that can only be produced after years and even decades spent accumulating ideas and evidence. On one level, it is fast-reading because Bernholz sticks to the most important paths and does not take readers down a bunch of rabbit trails.

On another level, there are many parts of the book that demand revisiting, highlighting, and ruminating. Put succinctly, it is a book written to be read and not just set on the shelf as a reference tool.


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All-in-all, Monetary Regimes and Inflation can be highly recommended as a book that will educate those with little knowledge of past inflations across the world as well as deepening and broadening the knowledge of those who already know the facts. The writing is crisp and the knowledge of monetary history is breathtaking.

Students of monetary history will no doubt find this a fascinating and useful volume. Analytically, historically, and empirically, Bernholz has established himself as the world's premier scholar on monetary inflation, and especially as related to the institutional settings for money creation. His careful evaluation of the comparative results must surely be of assistance in forestalling the social costs that inflation, anywhere and everywhere, produces.

This is an impressive work that bankers, central bankers, economists and laymen can read with pleasure and profit.

Monetary Regimes and Inflation: History, Economic and Political Relationships

I recommend it highly. 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.


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Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services. Economic literature: papers , articles , software , chapters , books. Monetary regimes and inflation: history, economic and political relationships: by Peter Bernholz, Northampton Massachusetts : Edward Elgar Publishing, Inc.

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