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A suggestion for oversimplifying the theory of money

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  • Neil Wallace
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    Abstract

    This paper, originally published in 1988, argues that there is nothing special about government-issued money, that without restrictions of some kind, privately issued money would be a perfect substitute for it. The paper describes the type of intermediation this argument implies for a laissez-faire economy. One important implication is that there would be only one risk-adjusted rate of return; either all assets would pay a low return to match that on money, or money would pay interest. Another important implication is that open market operations would be irrelevant. The paper argues that the reason we don't frequently observe economies with such characteristics is that governments generally impose restrictions which prevent the private issue of money. However, the paper does examine some historical periods when restrictions seemingly were not imposed. And it concludes with some reservations about the oversimplifying suggestion. The paper is reprinted, with permission, from the Economic Journal.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its journal Quarterly Review.

    Volume (Year): (1990)
    Issue (Month): Win ()
    Pages: 19-26

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    Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmqr:y:1990:i:win:p:19-26:n:v.14no.1

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    Related research

    Keywords: Monetary theory;

    References

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    1. Sargent, Thomas J & Wallace, Neil, 1982. "The Real-Bills Doctrine versus the Quantity Theory: A Reconsideration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(6), pages 1212-36, December.
    2. Makinen, Gail E & Woodward, G Thomas, 1986. "Some Anecdotal Evidence Relating to the Legal Restrictions Theory of the Demand for Money," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(2), pages 260-65, April.
    3. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1982. "Interest rates and currency prices in a two-country world," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 335-359.
    4. Hugh Rockoff, 1986. "Institutional Requirements for Stable Free Banking," Cato Journal, Cato Journal, Cato Institute, vol. 6(2), pages 617-639, Fall.
    5. Bryant, John & Wallace, Neil, 1984. "A Price Discrimination Analysis of Monetary Policy," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(2), pages 279-88, April.
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    Cited by:
    1. Buiter, Willem H, 2004. "Helicopter Money: Irredeemable Fiat Money and the Liquidity Trap," CEPR Discussion Papers 4202, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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