Gresham's Law

AAA

DEFINITION of 'Gresham's Law'

A monetary principle stating that "bad money drives out good." In currency valuation, Gresham's Law states that if a new coin ("bad money") is assigned the same face value as an older coin containing a higher amount of precious metal ("good money"), then the new coin will be used in circulation while the old coin will be hoarded and will disappear from circulation.

BREAKING DOWN 'Gresham's Law'

Coins were first made with gold, silver and other precious metals, which gave them their value. Over time, the amount of precious metals used to make the coin decreased because the metals were worth more on their own than when minted into the coin itself. If the value of the metal in the old coins was higher than the coin's face value, people would melt the coins down and sell the metal. Similarly, if a low quality good is passed off as a high quality good, then the market will drive down prices because consumers won't be able to determine the good's real value.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Currency

    A generally accepted form of money, including coins and paper ...
  2. Cash

    Legal tender or coins that can be used in exchange goods, debt, ...
  3. Moore's Law

    An observation made by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore in 1965. ...
  4. Money

    An officially-issued legal tender generally consisting of currency ...
  5. Lawful Money

    Any form of currency issued by the United States Treasury and ...
  6. Seigniorage

    The difference between the value of money and the cost to produce ...
Related Articles
  1. Credit & Loans

    The Evolution Of Banking

    Banks are a part of ancient history. Find out how this system of money management developed into what we know today.
  2. Fundamental Analysis

    What Is the Quantity Theory of Money?

    Take a look at the tenets, assumptions and challenges of monetarism's principal theory.
  3. Forex Education

    The History Of Money: From Barter To Banknotes

    Money has been a part of human history for at least 3,000 years. Learn how it evolved.
  4. Fundamental Analysis

    Is India the Next Emerging Markets Superstar?

    With a shift towards manufacturing and services, India could be the next emerging market superstar. Here, we provide a detailed breakdown of its GDP.
  5. Term

    Estimating with Subjective Probability

    Subjective probability is someone’s estimation that an event will occur.
  6. Investing Basics

    Understanding the Modigliani-Miller Theorem

    The Modigliani-Miller (M&M) theorem is used in financial and economic studies to analyze the value of a firm, such as a business or a corporation.
  7. Economics

    Explaining Kurtosis

    Kurtosis describes the distribution of data around an average.
  8. Personal Finance

    Simple Interest Loans: Do They Exist?

    Yes, they do. Here is what they are – and how to use them to your advantage.
  9. Professionals

    5 Unique Assets to Invest Your Retirement Money In

    Investing for retirement doesn't always mean 401(k)s and IRAs. Here are five unique assets to invest your retirement money in.
  10. Options & Futures

    An Introduction To Value at Risk (VAR)

    Volatility is not the only way to measure risk. Learn about the "new science of risk management".
RELATED FAQS
  1. What is the utility function and how is it calculated?

    In economics, utility function is an important concept that measures preferences over a set of goods and services. Utility ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How can I use a regression to see the correlation between prices and interest rates?

    In statistics, regression analysis is a widely used technique to uncover relationships among variables and determine whether ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How do I calculate a modified duration using Matlab?

    The modified duration gauges the sensitivity of the fixed income securities to changes in interest rates. To calculate the ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How do I calculate the rule of 72 using Matlab?

    In finance, the rule of 72 is a useful shortcut to assess how long it takes an investment to double given its annual growth ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. How do I calculate the standard error using Matlab?

    In statistics, the standard error is the standard deviation of the sampling statistical measure, usually the sample mean. ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How do I adjust the rule of 72 for higher accuracy?

    The rule of 72 refers to a time value of money formula that investors use to calculate how quickly an investment will double ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Financial Crisis

    A situation in which the value of financial institutions or assets drops rapidly. A financial crisis is often associated ...
  2. Election Period

    The period of time during which an investor who owns an extendable or retractable bond must indicate to the issuer whether ...
  3. Shanghai Stock Exchange

    The largest stock exchange in mainland China, the Shanghai Stock Exchange is a nonprofit organization run by the China Securities ...
  4. Dead Cat Bounce

    A temporary recovery from a prolonged decline or bear market, followed by the continuation of the downtrend. A dead cat bounce ...
  5. Bear Market

    A market condition in which the prices of securities are falling, and widespread pessimism causes the negative sentiment ...
  6. Alligator Spread

    An unprofitable spread that occurs as a result of large commissions charged on the transaction, regardless of favorable market ...
Trading Center
×

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!