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A Theoretical Approach to Electronic Money


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  • Nadia F. Piffaretti

    (Department of Economics)


The paper proposes an analysis of money which starts from electronic money. In open contradiction to the traditional approach, characterized by a general lack of interest by theoreticians towards payment system issues, the paper argues that analysis of the distinctive characteristics of electronic money is bound to contribute to received monetary theory. After indicating the distinguishing properties of electronic money (which derive entirely from its technical features), the paper outlines their consequences on the principles of monetary theory. It is argued that recognition of the fact that electronic money is nominal money issued in an operation of monetary intermediation, provides an analytical framework for a better understanding of electronic money issuance, as well as of the meaning of issuing money. The analysis will show that only a deep analysis into the very nature of bank money can provide a better understanding of phenomena such as electronic money, which is consistent with the evolution of financial and banking innovations, in particular with the rise of interest bearing mediums of exchange.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, University of Freiburg/Fribourg Switzerland in its series FSES Working Papers with number 302.

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Date of creation: Feb 1998
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Handle: RePEc:fri:fribow:9801

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Keywords: electronic money; monetary theory;

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  1. John P. Caskey & Gordon H. Sellon, Jr., 1994. "Is the debit card revolution finally here?," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q IV, pages 79-95.
  2. Stuber, Gerald, 1996. "The Electronic Purse: An Overview of Recent Developments and Policy Issues," Technical Reports, Bank of Canada 74, Bank of Canada.
  3. Shouyong Shi & Mariana Rojas Breu & Aleksander Berentsen, 2009. "Liquidity and Growth," 2009 Meeting Papers, Society for Economic Dynamics 590, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  4. J. David Germany & John E. Morton, 1985. "Financial innovation and deregulation in foreign industrial countries," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Oct, pages 743-753.
  5. William Roberds, 1997. "What's really new about the new forms of retail payment?," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, issue Q 1, pages 32-45.
  6. Paul W. Bauer, 1995. "Making payments in cyberspace," Economic Commentary, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Oct.
  7. Barbara A. Good, 1997. "Electronic money," Working Paper, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland 9716, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
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