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Money is privacy

  • Charles M. Kahn
  • James McAndrews
  • William Roberds

An extensive literature in monetary theory has emphasized the role of money as a record-keeping device. Money assumes this role in situations where using credit would be too costly, and some might argue that this role will diminish as the cost of information, and thus the cost of credit-based transactions, continues to fall. ; In this paper we investigate another use for money: the provision of privacy. That is, a money purchase does not identify the purchaser while a credit purchase does. In a simple trading economy with moral hazard, we compare the efficiency of money is compared with that of credit, and we find that money may be useful even when information is free.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta in its series Working Paper with number 2004-18.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedawp:2004-18
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  1. Kocherlakota, Narayana & Wallace, Neil, 1998. "Incomplete Record-Keeping and Optimal Payment Arrangements," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 272-289, August.
  2. Camera, Gabriele, 2001. "Dirty money," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 377-415, April.
  3. S. Rao Aiyagari & Stephen D. Williamson, 1998. "Money and Dynamic Credit Arrangements with Private Information," Game Theory and Information 9802002, EconWPA.
  4. Charles Kahn & James McAndrews & William Roberds, 2001. "A Theory of Transactions Privacy," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 01-12, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
  5. Ricardo de O. Cavalcanti & Neil Wallace, 1999. "A model of private bank-note issue," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 2(1), pages 104-136, January.
  6. Kenneth N. Kuttner & James J. McAndrews, 2001. "Personal on-line payments," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Dec, pages 35-50.
  7. Taub, Bart, 1994. "Currency and Credit Are Equivalent Mechanisms," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 35(4), pages 921-56, November.
  8. Stacey L. Schreft, 2002. "Clicking with dollars : how consumers can pay for purchases from E-tailers," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q I, pages 37-64.
  9. Glen Ellison, 2010. "Cooperation in the Prisoner's Dilemma with Anonymous Random Matching," Levine's Working Paper Archive 631, David K. Levine.
  10. Michi Kandori, 2010. "Social Norms and Community Enforcement," Levine's Working Paper Archive 630, David K. Levine.
  11. Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro & Wright, Randall, 1989. "On Money as a Medium of Exchange," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 927-54, August.
  12. Narayana R. Kocherlakota, 1996. "Money is memory," Staff Report 218, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  13. Araujo, Luis, 2004. "Social norms and money," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 241-256, March.
  14. Ping He & Lixin Huang & Randall Wright, 2005. "Money And Banking In Search Equilibrium," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 46(2), pages 637-670, 05.
  15. Townsend, Robert M, 1989. "Currency and Credit in a Private Information Economy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1323-44, December.
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