Scholarly Comments on Academic Economics

Farley Grubb’s Noisy Evasions on Colonial Money: A Rejoinder

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GRUBB’S RECENT PAPERS (2003, 2004, 2006B) ARE AIMED AT nothing less than rewriting important chapters of early American history. Our goal in both our AER and EJW comments was a negative one, to dissuade readers from accepting Grubb’s views and data. We are humbled by the complexity of the early American monetary system and the meagerness of the available evidence. We nowhere make the blanket claims that Grubb attributes to us, namely, that specie was plentiful, that exchange rates were immutable, or that cross-colony circulation of bills of credit was ubiquitous. Instead, we offer evidence that at some times and places specie was more abundant than Grubb claims, that most colonial exchange rates oscillated within broad specie points, and that bills of credit often circulated in adjacent colonies. And again, we make such claims with one point only in mind, to alert scholars that Grubb’s interpretation is highly suspect.