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Barter and Monetary Exchange under Private Information

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  • Williamson, Steve
  • Wright, Randall

Abstract

The authors develop a model of production and exchange with uncertainty concerning the quality of commodities and study the role of fiat money in ameliorating frictions caused by private information. The model is specified so that, without private information, only high-quality commodities are produced and there is no welfare gain from using money. With private information, there can be equilibria (and sometimes multiple equilibria) where low-quality commodities are produced and money can increase welfare. Money works by promoting useful production and exchange. In efficient monetary equilibria, agents adopt strategies that increase the probability of acquiring high-quality output. Copyright 1994 by American Economic Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Williamson, Steve & Wright, Randall, 1994. "Barter and Monetary Exchange under Private Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 104-123, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:84:y:1994:i:1:p:104-23
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Townsend, Robert M, 1989. "Currency and Credit in a Private Information Economy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1323-1344, December.
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    7. Bruce Smith, 1986. "Limited Information, Money, and Competitive Equilibrium," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 19(4), pages 780-797, November.
    8. George A. Akerlof, 1970. "The Market for "Lemons": Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500.
    9. Aiyagari, S Rao & Wallace, Neil, 1992. "Fiat Money in the Kiyotaki-Wright Model," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 2(4), pages 447-464, October.
    10. Williamson, Stephen D., 1992. "Laissez-faire banking and circulating media of exchange," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 134-167, June.
    11. Freeman, Scott, 1985. "Transactions Costs and the Optimal Quantity of Money," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(1), pages 146-157, February.
    12. King, Robert G. & Plosser, Charles I., 1986. "Money as the mechanism of exchange," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 93-115, January.
    13. Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro & Wright, Randall, 1991. "A contribution to the pure theory of money," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 215-235, April.
    14. Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro & Wright, Randall, 1989. "On Money as a Medium of Exchange," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 927-954, August.
    15. S. Rao Aiyagari, 1989. "Gresham's Law in a Lemons Market for Assets," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 22(3), pages 686-697, August.
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