The Wild Card: Colonial Paper Money in French North America, 1685 to 1719

24 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2017 Last revised: 14 Mar 2018

See all articles by Vincent Geloso

Vincent Geloso

Bates College

Mathieu Bédard

Montreal Economic Institute; Aix-Marseille University - Aix-Marseille School of Economics

Date Written: March 12, 2018

Abstract

During the colonial era, the French colonial government in Canada experimented with paper money that it printed on the back of playing cards. The first experiment lasted from 1685 to 1719. In the first years, there was little inflation in spite of a rapidly expanding stock of playing card money. It is only in the latter years of the experiment that prices rose. The behavior of the money stock and nominal output suggest that velocity fluctuated throughout the period and we argue here that these fluctuations can be explained by variations in the enforcement of legal tender laws. This interpretation may provide insights into the debate over the inflationary impact of paper money in the colonial United States.

Keywords: redemption theory, Canadian economic history, money supply, monetary economics

JEL Classification: N11, N21, E42

Suggested Citation

Geloso, Vincent and Bédard, Mathieu, The Wild Card: Colonial Paper Money in French North America, 1685 to 1719 (March 12, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2995560 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2995560

Vincent Geloso (Contact Author)

Bates College ( email )

Department of Economics
Lewiston, ME
United States

Mathieu Bédard

Montreal Economic Institute ( email )

910, rue Peel, bureau 600
Montreal, Quebec J7R 6Y9
Canada
514 273-0969 (Phone)
514 273-2581 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.iedm.org/

Aix-Marseille University - Aix-Marseille School of Economics ( email )

2 rue de la Charité
Marseille, 13236
France

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