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The Monetary Systems of the Greeks and Romans$
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W. V. Harris

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199233359

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199233359.001.0001

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Elasticity of the Money Supply at Athens

Elasticity of the Money Supply at Athens

(p.66) 4 Elasticity of the Money Supply at Athens
The Monetary Systems of the Greeks and Romans

Edward E. Cohen

Oxford University Press

This chapter shows that the money supply in 4th-century Athens was in fact strikingly elastic, since it could be, and was, substantially increased through the provision of credit by merchants and through the banks' creation of non-coin money via deposit accounts and other mechanisms. Topics discussed include the conceptualization of ‘money’ and ‘money supply’, generation of debt-related credit money through sales transactions, and generation of bank-related credit money.

Keywords:   ancient Greece, credit, debt, sales, money supply, banks

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