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Resolving the National Banking System note-issue puzzle

  • Bruce A. Champ
  • Neil Wallace

Under the National Banking System, 1863-1914, national banks that deposited sufficient collateral could issue notes provided they paid a tax on notes in circulation: 1 percent per year before 1900 and 1/2 percent thereafter. Because note issue was far below the allowed maximum, an arbitrage argument predicts that short-term nominal interest rates should have been bounded above by the tax rate. They were not. That is the note-issue puzzle. Our resolution takes the form of a model in which notes play a role, but in which the profitability of note issue is not tied to anything that resembles a market rate of interest.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland in its series Working Paper with number 0316.

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Date of creation: 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedcwp:0316
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  1. Ricardo de O. Cavalcanti & Neil Wallace, 1999. "Inside and outside money as alternative media of exchange," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 443-468.
  2. Shi Shougong, 1995. "Money and Prices: A Model of Search and Bargaining," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 467-496, December.
  3. Champ, Bruce & Wallace, Neil & Weber, Warren E., 1994. "Interest rates under the U.S. national banking system," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 343-358, December.
  4. Trejos, Alberto & Wright, Randall, 1995. "Search, Bargaining, Money, and Prices," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(1), pages 118-41, February.
  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.
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