The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Real Bills Doctrine

  • Roy Green
Reference work entry


The ‘real bills doctrine’ has its origin in banking developments of the 17th and 18th centuries. It received its first authoritative exposition in Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, was then repudiated by Thornton and Ricardo in the famous Bullionist Controversy, and was finally rehabilitated as the ‘law of reflux’ by Tooke and Fullarton in the currency–banking debate of the mid-19th century. Even now, echoes of the real bills doctrine reverberate in modern monetary theory.


Banking School Bullionist controversy Cantillon, R. Convertibility Currency School Fractional reserve banking Fullarton, J. Land bank Law of circulation Law of reflux Law, J. Mercantilism Overissue Physiocracy Real bills doctrine Ricardo, D. Smith, A. Steuart Sir J. Thornton, H. Tooke, T 

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roy Green
    • 1
  1. 1.