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Abstract

This paper presents a theory of inflation in commodity money and supports it by evidence from inflationary episodes in France during the 14th and 15th centuries. The paper shows that commodity money can be inflated similarly to fiat money through repeated debasements, which act like devaluations. Furthermore, as with fiat money, demand for commodity money falls with inflation. However, at high rates of inflation demand for commodity money becomes insensitive to inflation, since commodity money has intrinsic value in addition to its transactions value. Finally, we show that anticipated stabilization reduces demand for commodity money.

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