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The real bills doctrine vs. the quantity theory: a reconsideration

  • Thomas J. Sargent
  • Neil Wallace

On our interpretation, real bills advocates favor unfettered intermediation, while their critics, who we call quantity theorists, favor legal restrictions on intermediation geared to separate “money” from “credit.” We display examples of economies in which quantity-theory assertions about “money-supply” and price-level behavior under the real bills regime are valid. In particular, both the price level and an asset total that quantity theorists would identify as money fluctuate more under a real bills regime than under a regime with restrictions like those favored by quantity theorists. Despite this, the Pareto criterion does not support the quantity-theory position.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its series Staff Report with number 64.

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Date of creation: 1981
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:64
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  1. 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.
  2. Bryant, John & Wallace, Neil, 1979. "The Inefficiency of Interest-bearing National Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(2), pages 365-81, April.
  3. Balasko, Yves & Shell, Karl, 1980. "The overlapping-generations model, I: The case of pure exchange without money," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 281-306, December.
  4. Wallace, Neil, 1981. "A Modigliani-Miller Theorem for Open-Market Operations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 267-74, June.
  5. Kareken, John & Wallace, Neil, 1977. "Portfolio autarky: A welfare analysis," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 19-43, February.
  6. James Tobin, 1963. "Commercial Banks as Creators of 'Money'," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 159, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  7. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1980. "Equilibrium in a Pure Currency Economy," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 18(2), pages 203-20, April.
  8. Martins, Marco Antonia Campos, 1980. "A Nominal Theory of the Nominal Rate of Interest and the Price Level," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(1), pages 174-85, February.
  9. Fama, Eugene F., 1980. "Banking in the theory of finance," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 39-57, January.
  10. repec:oup:restud:v:43:y:1976:i:2:p:195-215 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. John Bryant & Neil Wallace, 1980. "A suggestion for further simplifying the theory of money," Staff Report 62, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
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