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Transaction Services, Inflation, and Welfare

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  • S. Rao Aiyagari
  • R. Anton Braun
  • Zvi Eckstein

Abstract

This paper is motivated by a variety of empirical observations on the comovements of currency velocity, inflation, and the relative size of the "credit services" sector. By the credit services sector we mean the part of banking and credit sector which provides alternative means of transactions to using currency as well as other services which help people economize on currency. We incorporate the credit services sector into a monetary growth model. Our model makes two specific and new contributions. The first is to show that direct quantitative evidence on the welfare cost of low inflation using measures of the relative size of an appropriately defined credit services sector for the U.S. - essentially the cost incurred by banks and credit unions in providing demand deposit and credit card services - is consistent with the welfare cost measured using an estimated money demand curve following the classic analysis of Bailey (1956) and the more recent analysis of Lucas (1993). Both of these measures amount to about 0.5 percent of GNP. The second contribution is in providing welfare cost of inflation estimates over a range of inflation rates which have some new features. We find that the total welfare cost of inflation remains bounded at about 5 percent of consumption.> (Replaced by Staff Report No. 241)

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 106 (1998)
Issue (Month): 6 (December)
Pages: 1274-1301

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:106:y:1998:i:6:p:1274-1301

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  1. Cooley, Thomas F & Hansen, Gary D, 1989. "The Inflation Tax in a Real Business Cycle Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 733-48, September.
  2. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1991. "A simple estimator of cointegrating vectors in higher order integrated systems," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 91-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  3. Wicker, Elmus R, 1986. "Terminating Hyperinflation in the Dismembered Habsburg Monarchy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 350-64, June.
  4. Gillman, Max, 1993. "The welfare cost of inflation in a cash-in-advance economy with costly credit," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 97-115, February.
  5. Melnick, Rafi, 1995. "Financial Services, Cointegration, and the Demand for Money in Israel," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(1), pages 140-53, February.
  6. Schreft, S L, 1992. "Transaction Costs and the Use of Cash and Credit," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 283-96, April.
  7. Lucas, Robert E, Jr & Stokey, Nancy L, 1987. "Money and Interest in a Cash-in-Advance Economy," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(3), pages 491-513, May.
  8. Goldfeld, Stephen M. & Sichel, Daniel E., 1990. "The demand for money," Handbook of Monetary Economics, in: B. M. Friedman & F. H. Hahn (ed.), Handbook of Monetary Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 8, pages 299-356 Elsevier.
  9. Dotsey, Michael, 1985. " The Use of Electronic Funds Transfers to Capture the Effects of Cash Management Practices on the Demand for Demand Deposits: A Note," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 40(5), pages 1493-1503, December.
  10. S. Rao Aiyagari & Zvi Eckstein, 1995. "Interpreting monetary stabilization in a growth model with credit goods production," Working Papers 525, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  11. Peter M. Garber, 1981. "Transition from Inflation to Price Stability," NBER Working Papers 0728, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. King, Robert G., 1988. "Money demand in the United States: A quantitative review," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 169-172, January.
  13. Lucas, Robert E., 1988. "Money demand in the United States: A quantitative review," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 137-167, January.
  14. Robert E. Lucas, Jr., 1994. "On the welfare cost of inflation," Working Papers in Applied Economic Theory 94-07, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  15. Stockman, Alan C., 1981. "Anticipated inflation and the capital stock in a cash in-advance economy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 387-393.
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