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Currency competition : a partial vindication of Hayek

  • Antoine Martin
  • Stacey L. Schreft

This paper establishes the existence of equilibria for environments in which outside money is issued competitively. Such equilibria are typically believed not to exist because of a classic overissue problem: if money is valued in equilibrium, an issuer produces money until its value is driven to zero. By backward induction, money cannot have value in the first place. However, for any given finite amount of money outstanding, a monetary economy typically has two equilibria. In one, money has value; in the other, money is not valued because no one expects it to be valued. This paper takes this latter equilibrium seriously and shows that trigger strategies eliminate the overissue problem if agents have beliefs of the following type: if an issuer produces money beyond some threshold amount, then the issuer’s money has no value. This result is very general, applying to any monetary economy in which equilibria with and without valued money exist if the money supply is finite. The paper also compares the allocation achieved by a monopolist to that achieved with competitive issuance in both a search and an overlapping-generations environment. The results depend on the environment considered, but two general conclusions arise. First, it is ambiguous whether competitive issuers can achieve a more desirable allocation than a monopolist. Second, with competitive issuance, a licensing agency can always improve on pure laissez-faire and achieve the efficient allocation in the long run.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in its series Research Working Paper with number RWP 03-04.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedkrw:rwp03-04
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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. Shouyong Shi, 1995. "Money and Prices: A Model of Search and Bargaining," Working Papers 916, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  3. Williamson, S.D., 1998. "Private Money," Working Papers 98-09, University of Iowa, Department of Economics.
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  5. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1978. "Optimal seigniorage from money creation : An analysis in terms of the optimum balance of payments deficit problem," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(3), pages 503-517, August.
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  8. Taub, Bart, 1985. "Private fiat money with many suppliers," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 195-208, September.
  9. Joseph A. Ritter, 1994. "The transition from barter to fiat money," Working Papers 1994-004, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  10. Green, Edward-J, 1997. "Money and Debt in the Structure of Payments," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 15(1), pages 63-87, May.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Okuno, Masahiro & Zilcha, Itzhak, 1980. "On the Efficiency of a Competitive Equilibrium in Infinite Horizon Monetary Economies," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(4), pages 797-807, July.
  14. Aleksander Berentsen, . "Time-Consistent Private Supplie of Outside Paper Money," IEW - Working Papers 156, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  15. Luis Araujo & Braz Camargo, 2005. "Monetary Equilibrium with Decentralized Trade and Learning," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 20051, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  16. S. Rao Aiyagari & Neil Wallace & Randall Wright, 1996. "Coexistence of money and interest-bearing securities," Working Papers 550, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  17. Wright Randall, 1994. "A Note on Sunspot Equilibria in Search Models of Fiat Money," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 234-241, October.
  18. 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.
  19. Gabriele Camera & Ben Craig & Christopher J. Waller, 2003. "Currency competition in a fundamental model of money," Working Paper 0311, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  20. Klein, Benjamin, 1974. "The Competitive Supply of Money," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 6(4), pages 423-53, November.
  21. Matsuyama, Kiminori & Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro & Matsui, Akihiko, 1993. "Toward a Theory of International Currency," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(2), pages 283-307, April.
  22. S. Rao Aiyagari & Neil Wallace, 1995. "Government transaction policy, the medium of exchange, and welfare," Working Papers 516, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  23. Monnet, Cyril, 2002. "Optimal public money," Working Paper Series 0159, European Central Bank.
  24. Kareken, John & Wallace, Neil, 1981. "On the Indeterminacy of Equilibrium Exchange Rates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 96(2), pages 207-22, May.
  25. Li, Yiting & Wright, Randall, 1998. "Government Transaction Policy, Media of Exchange, and Prices," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 290-313, August.
  26. Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro & Wright, Randall, 1993. "A Search-Theoretic Approach to Monetary Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 63-77, March.
  27. Li, Victor E, 1995. "The Optimal Taxation of Fiat Money in Search Equilibrium," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 36(4), pages 927-42, November.
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