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Private and public circulating liabilities

  • Costas Azariadis
  • James Bullard
  • Bruce Smith

Changes in the legal and technological environment in the U.S. have created the possibility of private banknote issue, or its electronic equivalent. We wish to understand the implications of this possibility for economic performance. Accordingly, we construct and analyze a dynamic general equilibrium model in which privately-issued liabilities may circulate, either by themselves, or alongside a stock of outside money. In each case we provide results on the existence and multiplicity of equilibria, and we characterize local dynamics in a neighborhood of a steady state. Our results support Friedman's (1960) idea that circulating private liabilities as associated with endogenous (or "excess") volatility. But implementing Friedman's (1960) advice-the government should ban private issuance of close currency substitutes-causes significant inefficiency in our model. And implementing the polar opposite advice of Hayek (1976) and Fama (1980)-that the government should withdraw from currency issuance altogether in the presence of circulating private liabilities-also is often constrained suboptimal in our economies. Instead, our economies have both public and private circulating liabilities as part of an optimal monetary arrangement.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its series Working Papers with number 2000-012.

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Date of creation: 2000
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Publication status: Published in Journal of Economic Theory, July/August 2001, 99(1-2), pp. 59-116
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2000-012
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  1. Gale, David, 1973. "Pure exchange equilibrium of dynamic economic models," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 12-36, February.
  2. Smith, Bruce D., 1994. "Mischief and monetary history Friedman and Schwartz thirty years later," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 27-46, August.
  3. Fisher, Eric O'N, 1996. "On Exchange Rates and Efficiency," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 267-81, February.
  4. Champ, B. & Smith, B.D., 1991. "Currency Elasticity and Banking Panics: theory and Evidence," University of Western Ontario, The Centre for the Study of International Economic Relations Working Papers 9109, University of Western Ontario, The Centre for the Study of International Economic Relations.
  5. Stacey L. Schreft, 1997. "Looking forward : the role for government in regulating electronic cash," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q IV, pages 59-84.
  6. Williamson, Stephen D, 1999. "Private Money," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 31(3), pages 469-91, August.
  7. Smith, Bruce D & Weber, Warren E, 1999. "Private Money Creation and the Suffolk Banking System," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 31(3), pages 624-59, August.
  8. Paul A. Samuelson, 1958. "An Exact Consumption-Loan Model of Interest with or without the Social Contrivance of Money," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66, pages 467.
  9. Balasko, Yves & Shell, Karl, 1981. "The overlapping-generations model. II. The case of pure exchange with money," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 112-142, February.
  10. 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.
  11. Townsend, Robert M, 1987. "Economic Organization with Limited Communication," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 954-71, December.
  12. Burdett, Kenneth & Trejos, Alberto & Wright, Randall, 2001. "Cigarette Money," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 99(1-2), pages 117-142, July.
  13. 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.
  14. Costas Azariadis & James Bullard & Lee E. Ohanian, 1998. "Complex eigenvalues and trend-reverting fluctuations," Staff Report 255, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  15. 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.
  16. Robert Townsend & Neil Wallace, 1982. "A model of circulating private debt," Staff Report 83, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  17. Williamson, Stephen D., 1992. "Laissez-faire banking and circulating media of exchange," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 134-167, June.
  18. Fama, Eugene F., 1980. "Banking in the theory of finance," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 39-57, January.
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