Economic Review

1987

 
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Jul/Aug, 1987

Henry Thornton: Seminal Monetary Theorist and Father of the Modern Central Bank

Robert L. Hetzel

Henry Thornton's Paper Credit of Great Britain (1802) established once and for all the notion that central banks have the prime responsibility for controlling the money stock and the price level. This theme and the analytical framework underlying it reappeared in the famous Bullion Report (1810). There he and his coauthors contended that the central bank's responsibility should be made explicit and that the mechanics for ensuring price level stability should be a matter of rules, not discretion.

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