Historical Monetary Data
We often receive requests for monetary aggregates data that cover time periods prior to January 1959,
the beginning date for the Board of Governors currently published monetary aggregates. Various data
are available for these years, but not all data are consistent with the current definitions of the
Board's monetary aggregates. This section discusses available data. The problem is not one of finding
data; the problem is one of constructing monetary aggregates that are consistent with currently published definitions.
Some common sources of historical monetary data are:
- Banking and Monetary Statistics
Volume 1, 1914-1940 and Volume 2, 1941-1970 are available on FRASER.
Originally published by the Federal Reserve Board, now out of print.
- A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960
by Milton Friedman and Anna J. Schwartz (Princeton University Press, 1963).
- Monetary Statistics of the United States
by Milton Friedman and Anna J. Schwartz (1970) (out of print).
- Appendix B: Historical Data
by Nathan S. Balke and Robert J. Gordon, in R.J. Gordon, ed., The American Business Cycle
(University of Chicago Press for the National Bureau of Economic Research, 1986), pp. 781-850.
- Historical Statistics of the United States, Millenium Edition, (Cambridge University Press, 2006).
The chapter by Richard Anderson that discusses historical monetary aggregates is available as
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis working paper 2003-006. A data appendix to that working paper containing images of
selected original source documents is available: Some Tables of Historical U.S. Currency and Monetary Aggregates Data.
Historical (Pre-1959) Monetary Aggregates
Robert H. Rasche, in articles from 1987 and 1990, produced monetary aggregates for
1948-1958 that are consistent with current Federal Reserve Board definitions. The official measures of the money stock in
the United States currently published by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System start with January, 1959.
Excerpts from Rasche's two articles are below. For a history of the Federal Reserve's definitions of monetary aggregates,
see Anderson and Kavajecz (1994)
and Kavajecz (1994).
The attached files contain data that provide a measure of M1 and the currency component of M1 (seasonally adjusted)
beginning January, 1929. These data follow the method outlined in Rasche (1987).
M2 and M3
The attached files contain data that provide measures of M1, M2 and M3 series for the period 1948-58. These
data follow the methods in Rasche (1990). The M1 component differs slightly from that produced by the method in Rasche
(1987) because it omits the "shift adjustment" for flows into the checkable deposit component of M1. These
data are constructed via a Rats program, available here as a zipped file.
Rasche (1987) Appendix A
from Robert H. Rasche Paper "M1 - Velocity and Money-Demand Functions: Do Stable Relationship Exist?"
Reprinted from Journal of Monetary Economics, 1987, 27, pp. 70-72, Copyright 1987, with permission from Elsevier.
Rasche (1990) Appendix
from Robert H. Rasche Paper "Demand Functions for Measures of U. S. Money and Debt"
Reprinted from Financial Sectors in Open Economies: Empirical Analysis and Policy Issues published by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 1990.