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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
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:64
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  1. John Bryant & Neil Wallace, 1980. "A suggestion for further simplifying the theory of money," Staff Report 62, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  2. 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.
  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. Fama, Eugene F., 1980. "Banking in the theory of finance," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 39-57, January.
  5. 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.
  6. Heller, Walter Perrin & Starr, Ross M, 1976. "Equilibrium with Non-convex Transactions Costs: Monetary and Non-monetary Economies," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(2), pages 195-215, June.
  7. James Tobin, 1963. "Commercial Banks as Creators of 'Money'," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 159, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  8. 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.
  9. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1980. "Equilibrium in a Pure Currency Economy," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 18(2), pages 203-20, April.
  10. Wallace, Neil, 1981. "A Modigliani-Miller Theorem for Open-Market Operations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 267-74, June.
  11. Kareken, John & Wallace, Neil, 1977. "Portfolio autarky: A welfare analysis," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 19-43, February.
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