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Bimetallism and its discontents: cooperation and coordination failure in the empire’s monetary politics, 1549–59

Volckart, Oliver (2018) Bimetallism and its discontents: cooperation and coordination failure in the empire’s monetary politics, 1549–59. Vierteljahresschrift fur Sozial und Wirtschaftsgeschichte, 105 (2). pp. 201-220. ISSN 0340-8728

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Identification Number: 10.25162/vswg-2018-0006


The article uses new sources to review the hypotheses that Charles V's currency bill of 1551 failed because of the electoral-Saxon resistance against the undervaluation of the taler that it stipulated, or because the emperor was too weak to overcome the estates' resistance to collective action in monetary policies. The study shows that these issues were overshadowed by the dispute about whether a bimetallic currency should be established. Charles V's currency bill failed because the Diet of Augsburg (1550–51) asked the emperor to publish it before all open issues had been resolved. This request placed the emperor in a dilemma where he had to make a decision but could not do so without antagonising important parties. It was the result of a coordination failure at the level of the Empire, which in turn was a consequence of a lack of continuity among those personnel involved in shaping monetary policies.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2018 Franz Steiner Verlag, Stuttgart
Divisions: Economic History
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HG Finance
JEL classification: E - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics > E5 - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit > E50 - General
H - Public Economics > H1 - Structure and Scope of Government > H10 - General
H - Public Economics > H6 - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt > H60 - General
N - Economic History > N1 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Growth and Fluctuations > N10 - General, International, or Comparative
N - Economic History > N4 - Government, War, Law, and Regulation > N40 - General, International, or Comparative
Date Deposited: 25 Oct 2018 13:30
Last Modified: 15 May 2024 23:22

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