The Mississippi Bubble of 1720 and France’s Missing Revolution | François Velde
Friday, May 25, 2018 - 5:15pm

Keynote Address in conjunction with The Richard Robinson Business History Workshop


"The Mississippi Bubble of 1720 and France’s Missing Revolution" 

by François Velde, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
Thursday, May 24, 2018 
Smith Memorial Student Union (SMSU) 294

Keynote: 6:00pm

FREE and open to the public


The Mississippi Bubble of 1720 was the epicenter for a wave of speculative bubbles across Europe, but it was more than a bubble.

John Law's complex scheme involved a complete reconstruction of public finance as well as the first full-scale implementation of paper money in Europe. The scheme failed spectacularly, but the failure raises interesting questions. Could it have worked, and if so, how would France's history have changed? And, given the far-reaching failure, why were the repercussions so limited?


About François Velde 

François Velde is a senior economist and research 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.