Comparative Economic Studies

, Volume 58, Issue 4, pp 570–605 | Cite as

The Macro-Stability of Swiss WIR-Bank Credits: Balance, Velocity, and Leverage

  • James Stodder
  • Bernard Lietaer
Original Article

Since 1934, the Swiss Wirtschaftsring/Cercle Économique (Economic Circle), now the WIR-Bank, has issued its own currency, not backed by Swiss Francs. Turnover in WIR is countercyclical: firms use it more in a recession. A money-in-the-production-function model implies that this spending arises through larger WIR Balances for larger firms, but greater WIR Velocity for smaller ones. Panel data by industrial sector confirm this pattern, similar to commercial trade credits, a major source of non-bank credit. The countercyclical multiplier on WIR expenditures is highly leveraged, and its impact on the Swiss Economy greater than its turnover would suggest.


complementary currency community currency countercyclical 

JEL Classification

E51 G21 P13 



We wish to thank Stefan Winkler, a statistician for the WIR-Bank, for his generous aid in providing and interpreting WIR-Bank sectoral data. Thanks also to Peter Pedroni, David Giles, and seminar participants at the Centre for European Research in Microfinance, University of Brussels and the International Conference on Community and Complementary Currencies, University of Lyon. They are in no way responsible for any errors.


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Copyright information

© Association for Comparative Economic Studies 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lally School of ManagementRensselaer Polytechnic InstituteHartfordUSA
  2. 2.Center for Sustainable ResourcesUniversity of California at BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA

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