The massachusetts paper money of 1690

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Modern currency originates in the inconvertible, legal tender paper money that Massachusetts devised in 1690. The circumstances that led to its creation are more complex than the typical story of wartime specie shortage. Due to temporary political constraints of that turbulent period, the currency could be neither backed by land nor imposed on anyone, as was then standard. Instead, it had to be disguised from England as a simple, private-seeming IOU. By pleasing both its pay-demanding troops and England, the government maximized its probability of survival subject to the constraints.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1092-1106
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Economic History
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'The massachusetts paper money of 1690'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this