Books and Essays at Econlib

Mises, Ludwig von, The Theory of Money and Credit

The Theory of Money and Credit integrated monetary theory into the main body of economic analysis for the first time, providing fresh, new insights into the nature of money and its role in the economy and bringing Mises into the front rank of European economists.

Bagehot, Walter, Lombard Street

    • Classic book describing the workings of the banking industry in London, with particular emphasis on the emerging concept of a Central Bank. This book influenced the subsequent structure and behavior of the Federal Reserve System and other national Central Banks.

Buchanan, James M. and Richard E. Wagner, Democracy in Deficit: The Political Legacy of Lord Keynes, specifically Chapter 8, Money-Financed Deficits and Political Democracy.

Hume, David, Essays, Moral Political and Literary, specifically, Of Money.

Laughlin, J. Laurence, The History of Bimetallism in the United States.

Leggett, William, Democratick Editorials: Essays in Jacksonian Political Economy, Compiled and edited by Lawrence H. White.

    Between 1834 and 1837, a youthful William Leggett switched from writing mediocre poetry to writing impassioned editorials in support of individual liberties and private property rights. Leggett’s writings on the banking industry and its relationship with the government constituted a major theme. Lawrence H. White has collected together Leggett’s best pieces on the topic (see Part II) from the pros and cons of chartering of the Bank of the United States, to gold standard versus paper money.

On Leggett’s untimely death from ongoing illness, his good friend and co-editor William Cullen Bryant penned this resounding verse:


The earth may ring, from shore to shore,
With echoes of a glorious name,
But he, whose loss our tears deplore,
Has left behind him more than fame.

For when the death-frost came to lie
On Leggett’s warm and mighty heart,
And quench his bold and friendly eye,
His spirit did not all depart.

The words of fire that from his pen
Were flung upon the fervid page,
Still move, still shake the hearts of men,
Amid a cold and coward age.

His love of truth, too warm, too strong
For Hope or Fear to chain or chill,
His hate of tyranny and wrong,
Burn in the breasts he kindled still.

~William Cullen Bryant, 1839

Mill, John Stuart, Principles of Political Economy, specifically Book III, Chapters VII-XXIV: Of Money, etc. For additional chapter titles, see the Table of Contents.

Say, John Baptiste, A Treatise on Political Economy, specifically Book I, Chapter XXI: Of the Nature and Uses of Money.

Smith, Adam, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, specifically Book I, Chapters 4-5: Of the Nature and Uses of Money, and Of the Real and Nominal Price of Commodities.

Wicksteed, Philip H., The Common Sense of Political Economy, specifically Book I, Chapter 4: Money and Exchange, and Book II, Chapter 7: Banking. Bills. Currency.

White, Lawrence H. and George Selgin, Why Private Banks and Not Central Banks Should Issue Currency, Especially in Less Developed Countries.

Other Recommended Readings

The Money and Banking Collection at the Online Library of Liberty

Friedman, Milton & Anna Schwartz, A Monetary History of the United States

Frydman, Roman and Edmund Phelps, Individual Forecasting and Economic Outcomes

Hayek, Friedrich, Contra Keynes and Cambridge

Hayek, Friedrich, Monetary Theory and the Trade Cycle

Lachmann, Ludwig, Capital and Its Structure

Lucas, Robert, Studies in Business Cycle Theory

Lucas, Robert, Models of Business Cycles

Robertson, D. H., Money

Taylor, John, (ed.), Monetary Policy Rules

White, Lawrence, Competition and Currency: Essays on Free Banking and Money

White, Lawrence, The Theory of Monetary Institutions

Yeager, Leland, The Fluttering Veil: Essays on Monetary Disequilibrium

See also: Inflation.