The experience of free banking
Think tank: Institute of Economic Affairs
Author(s): Various authors
December 15, 2023
This report from UK think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs looks at a banking system in which banks issue their own notes under competitive conditions.
Free banking is a banking system in which banks issue their own notes under competitive conditions while typically operating on a commodity standard, in the absence of a central bank and in a legal environment in which the public are free to accept or reject bank currency as they choose.
In 1992 Routledge published the first edition of The Experience of Free Banking, which included a set of country-case experiences of historical free banking systems (Australia, Canada, Colombia, Foochow in China, France, Ireland, Scotland, Switzerland and the US) and a world overview.
This second edition includes these earlier case studies, in several cases updated, and a set of additional case studies (Belgium, Chile, Italy, Peru, Northeast China and Sweden). An innovative feature of the new edition is a reader’s guide to the literature that is intended to provide a starting point for future researchers looking into the many historical experiences of free banking.