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The Best and Worst of Currencies: Seigniorage and Currency Policy in Spain, 1597–1650

  • Akira Motomura (a1)

The Spanish Monarchy pursued a rational policy of price discrimination among its Castilian currencies while financing its early-seventeenth-century wars. Large-denomination gold and silver coins circulated internationally, forcing the Monarchy to act more competitively and not seek additional short-run revenue. In contrast, petty coinage was a local monopoly. The Monarchy raised seigniorage rates and issued large quantities, generating large revenues. The nominal petty money stock grew rapidly, then fluctuated. The real petty money stock grew, then varied little as petty currency depreciation dampened nominal changes.

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