Vol 20 (Summer) pp. 2-23

Psychological factors influencing the use and development of Complementary Currencies

Carmen Smith, Alan Lewis

University of Bath, Claverton Down, Bath, BA27AY, United Kingdom, Email: C.J.Smith@bath.ac.uk; A.Lewis@bath.ac.uk


This paper presents a novel socio-psychological analysis of the motivations and experiences of mutual credit members in the United Kingdom and in the United States. Primary data comprised of interviews and participant observation, supplemented with secondary data analysis of organisation documents, and a review of the literature in psychology, sociology and economics. Group members were motivated to secure personal resilience against hardship, and the personal agency that results from this, along with the experiences of community and cultural identity positioning, motivates engagement. Consequently these groups are defined as cultural communities offering personal resilience to members through informal reciprocity. This approach, which prioritises the social aspects of exchange, has implications for the design of complementary currencies, particularly mutual credit initiatives, and demonstrates the value of engaging with the fields of psychology and sociology in developing interdisciplinary understandings of alternative economic practice.


Complementary currency, mutual credit, sustainability, reciprocity, resilience, community

Article Smith pdf

To cite this article: Smith, C; Lewis, A. (2016) ‘Psychological factors influencing the use and development of Complementary Currencies’ International Journal of Community Currency Research 20 (Summer) 2-23 <www.ijccr.net> ISSN 1325-9547 http://dx.doi.org/10.15133/j.ijccr.2016.001


It’s the motivation, stupid! The influence of motivation of secondary currency initiators on the currencies’ success

This paper attempts to explain the success of secondary currencies. Success is defined as the degree to which the initiators of these currencies manage to reach their original goals. In order to do so, we draw on two explanatory factors:  the motivation of a currency’s founder and the degree of organization. We employed a combination of qualitative interviews, secondary literature review and standardized questionnaires with seven secondary currency projects in Croatia (CROM), Germany (KannWas, Engelgeld), Greece (Ovolos, TEM) and the United Kingdom (Bristol Pound, Brixton Pound). The main findings are that projects which pursue several different motivations are more successful than those with fewer goals. As for the degree of organization, projects which score high on all dimensions of organization are correlated with higher project success. Building on this we propose a typology of two groups: Type 1 cases have low diversity of motivation and organization (CROM and Engelgeld) and Type 2 cases have high diversity of motivation and organization (Bristol Pound, Brixton Pound, and TEM). The two remaining cases, the Ovolos and the KannWas cannot be clearly assigned to any of the types. The motivation-organization typology can guide future research on the motivation of founding and using secondary currencies.

Lukas Fesenfeld, Jan Stuckatz, Iona Summerson, Thomas Kiesgen, Daniela Ruß, Maja Klimaschewski

IJCCR 2015 fesenfeld

To cite this article: Fesenfeld, L., Stuckatz, J., Summerson, I., Kiesgen, T., Ruß, D. and Klimaschewski, M. (2015) ‘It’s the motivation, stupid! The influence of motivation of secondary currency initiators on the currencies’ success’ International Journal of Community Currency Research 19 (Summer) 165-172  <www.ijccr.net>  ISSN  1325-9547 http://dx.doi.org/10.15133/j.ijccr.2015.016

What kinds of volunteers become more motivated by community currency? 
Influence of perceptions of reward on motivation

Local communities in Japan are struggling to increase the number of participants in volunteer activities in order to revitalize local life. To maintain the enthusiasm of active volunteers and entice new volunteers, a new type of reward to increase motivation is needed. Accordingly, community currencies (hereafter, CCs) have been introduced as a reward in an attempt to provide such a source of motivation. In particular, local residents have been expected to participate in volunteer work more frequently in return for receiving CCs; however, there is no evidence yet as to whether CCs arouse their motivation to do volunteer work. In this study, we investigated whether CCs play a role in raising local residents’ motivation to do volunteer work. Our conclusion is that even some people with a no-reward orientation are likely to have their motivation raised by CCs, rather than diminished. This result shows that their perception towards CCs and cash is dramatically different though CCs have the same monetary value as cash.

Ken-ichi Kurita , Masayuki Yoshida and Yoshihisa Miyazaki

IJCCR 2015 Kurita et al

To cite this article: Kurita, K., Yoshida, M. and Miyazaki, Y. (2015) ‘What kinds of volunteer become more motivated by community currency? Influence of perceptions of reward on motivation’ International Journal of Community Currency Research 19 (Summer) 53-61  <www.ijccr.net>  ISSN  1325-9547  http://dx.doi.org/10.15133/j.ijccr.2015.006

Are Alternative Currencies A Substitute Or A Complement To Fiat Money? Evidence From Cross-Country Data

This paper studies the determinants of the usage of alternative currencies (currencies which exists parallel to the national currency of a country) across countries. We find that monetary stability, financial sector development and a country’s general level of economic development are all positively related to both the likelihood of a country hosting an alternative currency as well to the number of alternative currencies a country is hosting. This suggests that these currencies, in contrast to their historical function, mainly act as a complement to fiat money. We discuss the implications for the role of fiat money in the economy as well as for the welfare effects of alternative currencies.

Damjan Pfajfar, Giovanni Sgro, and Wolf Wagner

To cite this article: Pfajfar, D., Sgro, G. and Wagner, W. (2012) ‘Are Alternative Currencies or a Complement to Fiat Money? Evidence from Cross-Country Data’ International Journal of Community Currency Research 16 (D) 45 – 56  <www.ijccr.netISSN  1325-9547 http://dx.doi.org/10.15133/j.ijccr.2012.004

IJCCR 2012 Pfajfar et al

Community Currency: An Approach To Economic Sustainability In Our Local Bioregion

Throughout the United States many rural areas face challenges to economic sustainability. Community currency attempts to confront these challenges by ensuring that wealth and resources are maintained within a region. The specific research question investigated in this article is, “Why do individuals participate in community currency movements and does that participation actually promote economic sustainability?” Social identity theory, social exchange theory and the concept of social capital guided the analysis for participation in the Humboldt Exchange. Key informant interviews and the Humboldt Exchange Survey 2008 were methods used to answer the research question. Survey data reveals that 44% of the Humboldt State University is aware of community currency, while 80% are unaware of the Exchange. Qualitative findings propose that individuals participate in the Humboldt Exchange because they have goods and services to exchange with others, whom they identify with, because doing so ensures that a certain amount of wealth and resources are maintained locally. However, as survey data shows, lack of awareness of the Humboldt Exchange essentially prohibits any form of economic sustainability, since this sustainability is only possible through considerable participation in the Exchange.

Natalie Terese Soder Volume 12(2008) A24-52


To cite this article: Soder, N.T. (2008) ‘Community Currency: An Approach To Economic Sustainability In Our Local Bioregion’ International Journal of Community Currency Research 12 24-52 <www.ijccr.net> ISSN  1325-9547 http://dx.doi.org/10.15133/j.ijccr.2008.004

The Motivations, Engagement, Satisfaction, Outcomes, and Demographics of Time Bank Participants: Survey Findings from a U.S. System

Findings from a comprehensive survey of the membership of a Time Bank in the United States are reported. This system has a total of 505 individual members, 233 of whom responded to the author’s online survey (46.1% response rate). Respondents were asked 193 questions in six categories: motivations, engagement, outcomes, satisfaction, community experience, and demographics. The membership is mostly female, white, and highly educated. Incomes are found to be quite low and members are politically engaged and overwhelmingly liberal. Respondents were motivated to join largely by needs and values-based reasons. This Time Bank has been most successful in allowing participants to act on behalf of the values that they cherish and to give back to their community and help those in need. Implications of the findings are discussed and the survey instrument is provided as a potential resource.

Ed Collom Volume 11(2007) A36-83

IJCCR vol 11 (2007) 3 Collum

To cite this article: Collom, E. (2007) ‘The Motivations, Engagement, Satisfaction, Outcomes, and Demographics of Time Bank Participants: Survey Findings from a U.S. System’ International Journal of Community Currency Research 11 36-83<www.ijccr.net> ISSN  1325-9547 http://dx.doi.org/10.15133/j.ijccr.2007.004

Local Currency Loans and Grants: Comparative Case Studies of Ithaca HOURS and Calgary Dollars

This study examines the rationale(s) that recipients have for participating in HOURS-based local currency loan and grant programs. Case studies, based on interviews of both loan and grant recipients and system coordinators, of Ithaca HOURS and Calgary Dollars local currency systems (LCSs) are presented here. Biggart and Delbridge’s (2004) Systems of Exchange typology, which allows for both instrumental (“means calculated”) and substantive (“ends calculated”) bases of rational economic action, provides the theoretical framework for this study. Insight into the rationales that individuals have for seeking a loan or grant can aid HOURS-based LCS coordinators in the development and promotion of these programs. This study also introduces local currency loans and grants to the social science community while demonstrating the applicability of Biggart and Delbridge’s (2004) typology to an understanding of LCSs and similar economic exchange networks characterized by both instrumental and substantive rationales.

Jeff Mascornick Volume 11(2007) A1-22

IJCCR vol 11 (2007) 1 Mascornick

To cite this article: Mascornick, J. (2007) ‘Local Currency Loans and Grants: Comparative Case Studies of Ithaca HOURS and Calgary Dollars’ International Journal of Community Currency Research 11 1-22 <www.ijccr.net> ISSN  1325-9547 http://dx.doi.org/10.15133/j.ijccr.2007.002