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An Economy with Personal Currency: Theory and Experimental Evidence

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Is personal currency issued by participants sufficient to operate an economy efficiently, with no outside or government money? Sahi and Yao (1989) and Sorin (1996) constructed a strategic market game to prove that this is possible. We conduct an experimental game in which each agent issues her personal IOUs, and a costless efficient clearinghouse adjusts the exchange rates among them so the markets always clear. The results suggest that if the information system and clearing are so good as to preclude moral hazard, any form of information asymmetry, and need for trust, the economy operates efficiently at any price level without government money. These conditions cannot reasonably be expected to hold in natural settings. In a second set of treatments when agents have the option of not delivering on their promises, a high enough penalty for non-delivery is necessary to ensure an efficient market; a lower penalty leads to inefficient, even collapsing, markets due to moral hazard.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University in its series Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers with number 1622.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2007
Date of revision: Mar 2010
Publication status: Published in Annals of Finance (2010), 6(4): 475-509
Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1622

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Keywords: Strategic market games; Government and individual money; Efficiency; Experimental gaming;

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  1. Ronald Bosman & Heike Hennig-Schmidt & Frans vanWinden, 2002. "Exploring Group Behavior in a Power-to-Take Video Experiment," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse7_2002, University of Bonn, Germany, revised May 2002.
  2. Matthias Sutter, 2008. "Individual behavior and group membership: Comment," Working Papers 2008-23, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
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  5. Martin G. Kocher & Matthias Sutter, 2005. "The Decision Maker Matters: Individual Versus Group Behaviour in Experimental Beauty-Contest Games," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(500), pages 200-223, 01.
  6. Francesco Feri & Bernd Irlenbusch & Matthias Sutter, 2008. "Efficiency Gains from Team-Based Coordination ? Large-Scale Experimental Evidence," Working Papers 2008-22, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
  7. Gode, Dhananjay K & Sunder, Shyam, 1993. "Allocative Efficiency of Markets with Zero-Intelligence Traders: Market as a Partial Substitute for Individual Rationality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(1), pages 119-37, February.
  8. Pradeep Dubey & John Geanakoplos & Martin Shubik, 2003. "Is gold an efficient store of value?," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 21(4), pages 767-782, 06.
  9. Huber, Juergen & Shubik, Martin & Sunder, Shyam, 2007. "Three Minimal Market Institutions: Theory and Experimental Evidence," Working Papers 27, Yale University, Department of Economics.
  10. Juergen Huber & Martin Shubik & Shyam Sunder, 2009. "The Value of Fiat Money with an Outside Bank: An Experimental Game," Levine's Working Paper Archive 814577000000000145, David K. Levine.
  11. Herbert E. Scarf, 1959. "Some Examples of Global Instability of the Competitive Equilibrium," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 79, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
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Cited by:
  1. Dmitry Levando, 2012. "A Survey Of Strategic Market Games," Economic Annals, Faculty of Economics, University of Belgrade, vol. 57(194), pages 63-106, July - Se.
  2. Juergen Huber & Martin Shubik & Shyam Sunder, 2008. "Sufficiency of an Outside Bank and a Default Penalty to Support the Value of Fiat Money: Experimental Evidence," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1675R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Jul 2013.
  3. Karim Jamal & Michael Maier & Shyam Sunder, 2012. "Decoupling Markets and Individuals: Rational Expectations Equilibrium Outcomes from Information Dissemination among Boundedly-Rational Traders," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1868, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.

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