François Velde

Senior Economist and Economic Advisor

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François Velde


François Velde is a senior economist and economic advisor in the economic research department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Velde's primary research on monetary history and monetary theory has been published in numerous journals. His research topics include medieval currency debasements, the monetary history of the United States, dollarization in Argentina and the macroeconomics of the French revolution.

In 2002, Velde and Thomas Sargent co-authored the book The Big Problem of Small Change (Princeton University Press), which studies how monetary systems in Western European economies evolved in response to recurring shortages and depreciation of small change.

Prior to joining the Chicago Fed as an economist in 1997, Velde was an assistant professor of economics at Johns Hopkins University. He is currently a visiting lecturer at the University of Chicago.

Velde earned an undergraduate degree at the École Polytechnique in France and a Ph.D. in economics at Stanford University.

Bank Publications

Chicago Fed Letter

François Velde | 2015 | No. 347 Download
François Velde | 2013 | No. 317 | December Download
François Velde | 2007 | No. 235a | February Download
François Velde | 2002 | No. 182 | October Download
François Velde | 2002 | No. 181a | September Download
François Velde, Marcelo Veracierto | 1999 | No. 142 | June Download
François Velde | 1999 | No. 141 | May Download

Economic Perspectives

François Velde | 2024 | No. 2 | April Download
François Velde | 2009 | Vol. 33 | 4th Quarter Download
François Velde | 2006 | Vol. 30 | No. 1 Download
François Velde | 2006 | Vol. 30 | No. 1 Download
François Velde | 2004 | Vol. 28 | No. 1 | January Download
François Velde | 2002 | Vol. 26 | No. 2 | May | 2nd Quarter Download
François Velde, Marcelo Veracierto | 2000 | Vol. 24 | No. 1 | February Download
François Velde | 1998 | Vol. 22 | No. 1 | March Download

Working papers

Working Papers

Adam Brzezinski, Nuno Palma, François Velde | 2024 | No. 2024-10 | April Download
Eric Monnet, François Velde | 2020 | No. 2020-28 | November Download
François Velde | 2018 | No. 2018-07 Download
Magali Marx, Benoît Mojon, François Velde | 2018 | No. 2018-01 Download
William Roberds, François Velde | 2014 | No. 2014-03 | February Download
François Velde | 2009 | No. 2009-12 | October Download
François Velde | 2009 | No. 2009-10 | October Download
François Velde | 2006 | No. 2006-12 Download
François Velde | 2002 | No. 2002-29 Download
François Velde, Warren E. Weber | 1998 | No. 1998-08 Download
Thomas J. Sargent, François Velde | 1997 | No. 1997-13 Download
François Velde, Warren E. Weber, Randall Wright | 1997 | No. 1997-12 Download
Thomas J. Sargent, François Velde | 1997 | No. 1997-08 Download

Selected External Publications

Journal Articles

2013, "On the Evolution of Specie: Circulation and Weight Loss in 18th and 19th Century Coinage," Revue Numismatique, No. 170, pp. 605-650.

2012, "The Life and Times of Nicolas Dutot," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Vol. 34, No. 1, pp. 67-107.

2010, "The Case of the Undying Debt,"  Financial History Review, Vol. 17, No. 2, October, pp. 185-209. Publisher: Cambridge Journals Online.

2009, "Chronicle of a deflation unforetold," Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 117, No. 4, pp. 591-634.

Co-authored Volume

With Thomas Sargent, 2002, The Big Problem of Small Change, Princeton University Press.

Contributed Chapters

 "A quantitative approach to understanding opera canons," in The Oxford Handbook of the Operatic Canon, William Weber and Cormac Newark (eds.), Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, forthcoming.

"A quantitative approach to the beginnings of coinage," in White Gold: Revealing the World's Earliest Coins, Haim Gitler, Catharine Lorber, Koray Konuk and Ute Wartenberg (eds.), forthcoming.

With William Roberds, 2016, "The descent of central banks (1400–1815)," in Central Banks at a Crossroads, Michael D. Bordo, Øyvind Eitrheim, Marc Flandreau and Jan F. Qvigstad (eds.), Cambridge University Press, pp. 18-61.

Presentations and Other Resources

Publication Award

Winner of 2003 Association of American Publishers Award for Best Professional/Scholarly Book in Business Management & Accounting for the co-authored book, The Big Problem of Small Change.

Work in Progress

Chronicles of a Deflation Unforetold

Suppose the government could cut the money supply literally overnight by 20 percent. What would happen to things like prices and output?

Believe it or not, this is a real experiment, carried out in France in 1724. To find out what did happen to prices and output, read the paper or look at an (earlier version of November 2006). If that's too much work, you can always glance at the slides (earlier version).

State-Space Approach to Inflation Measurement and Forecasting

See my article in Economic Perspectives for the basic idea and some results.

Pennies and Nickels: A Medieval Solution to a Medieval Problem

Pennies and nickels are threatened: their intrinsic content is higher than their face value, and the U.S. Mint has made it illegal to melt them down.

I discuss the problem and propose a solution in a Chicago Fed Letter.

The idea has received some attention (Yahoo News, January 24, 2007; Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, January 25,2007; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 29, 2007; column by Austan Goolsbee in the New York Times, February 2, 2007; London Times, February 16, 2007; Cincinnati Inquirer.

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