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Banque centrale, taux de l'escompte et politique monétaire chez Henry Thornton (1760-1815)

Jean-Stéphane Mésonnier ()

Working papers from Banque de France

Abstract: Henry Thornton (1760-1815), whose major work - An Enquiry into the Nature and Effects of the Paper Credit of Great Britain - is celebrating its bicentennary in 2002, is considered today to be one of the most prominent classical monetary economist, in particular with regard to its seminal contribution to the theory of the lender of last resort. However, Thornton's original views about the rate of interest on bank credit have barely been commented so far. In this paper, we endeavour to link these views with his theory of central banking in order to demonstrate that Thornton advocated an active use of the Bank of England's discount rate for monetary policy purpose, i.e. to safeguard the value of money, instead of any direct action on the quantity of circulating banknotes. Nevertheless, Thornton does not appear to have conceived the Bank's rate as a true " key rate " of the credit market as in modern terms.

Keywords: History of the economic thought; central banking; interest rate; monetary policy. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: B12 E52 E58 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 34 pages
Date: 2002
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