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Counterfeiting and inflation

  • Monnet, Cyril

In this paper I show that a lax anti-counterfeiting policy is inconsistent with price stability. I use a deterministic matching model with no commitment and no enforcement. An intrinsically worthless but perfectly durable object called a ‘note’ can be produced by banks at a given cost, but also by nonbanks at a (possibly) higher cost. Counterfeiting occurs when nonbanks produce notes in equilibrium. When it is cheap for nonbanks to produce notes, or the technology used to detect counterfeits is poor, counterfeits are circulating in equilibrium and trade is only implemented with a growing stock of notes (thus creating inflation). Finally, I show that the highest welfare level is achieved when counterfeiting is costly, or when the detection of counterfeits is of high quality. JEL Classification: D8, E5

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Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 0512.

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Date of creation: Aug 2005
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Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20050512
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  1. Cavalcanti, Ricardo de Oliveira, 2003. "A monetary mechanism for sharing capital: Diamond and Dybvig meet Kiyotaki and Wright," Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 476, FGV/EPGE Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
  2. Edward J. Green & Warren E. Weber, 1996. "Will the new $100 bill decrease counterfeiting?," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Sum, pages 3-10.
  3. Kocherlakota, Narayana R., 1998. "Money Is Memory," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 232-251, August.
  4. Klaus Kultti, 1996. "A monetary economy with counterfeiting," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 63(2), pages 175-186, June.
  5. Ed Nosal & Neil Wallace, 2004. "A model of (the threat of) counterfeiting," Working Paper 0401, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  6. Ricardo O. Cavalcanti, 2004. "A monetary mechanism for sharing capital: Diamond and Dybvig meet Kiyotaki and Wright," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 24(4), pages 769-788, November.
  7. Monnet, Cyril, 2002. "Optimal public money," Working Paper Series 0159, European Central Bank.
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