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Money is More than a Memory


  • Maria Bigoni

    (University of Bologna)

  • Gabriele Camera

    () (Economic Science Institute, Chapman University and University of Basel)

  • Marco Casari

    (University of Bologna and IZA)


Impersonal exchange is the hallmark of an advanced society. One key institution for impersonal exchange is money, which economic theory considers just a primitive arrangement for monitoring past conduct in society. If so, then a public record of past actions—or memory—supersedes the function performed by money. This intriguing theoretical postulate remains untested. In an experiment, we show that the suggested functional equality between money and memory does not translate into an empirical equivalence. Monetary systems perform a richer set of functions than just revealing past behaviors, which proves to be crucial in promoting large-scale cooperation.

Suggested Citation

  • Maria Bigoni & Gabriele Camera & Marco Casari, 2014. "Money is More than a Memory," Working Papers 14-17, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:chu:wpaper:14-17

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. M. Bigoni & G. Camera & M. Casari, 2015. "Money and the Scale of Cooperation," Working Papers wp1045, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.

    More about this item


    Cooperation; intertemporal trade; experiments; social norms; social dilemmas;

    JEL classification:

    • C70 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - General
    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • E02 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - Institutions and the Macroeconomy

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