chapter  1
18 Pages

The Technology and Economics of Coinage Debasements in Medieval and Early Modern Europe: with Special Reference to the Low Countries and England

WithCountries and England – John H. Munro

Coinage debasements in pre-industrial Europe, despite their frequency and especially their severity during the late medieval guerres monétaires, and despite their o en important economic consequences, remain a subject that is o en mentioned but remains ill understood in the economic history literature. Indeed, one o encited article, aptly titled ‘ e Debasement Puzzle’ (1996), by three highly respected economists, sought to demonstrate that coinage debasements were both impractical and economically futile.1 Yet debasements continued to ‘plague’ Europe until the eighteenth century. e objective of this study is to demonstrate that they were both practical and o en quite e ective in their o en very di erent goals, and were not always so deleterious in their e ects as is traditionally portrayed.