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Costly banknote issuance and interest rates under the national banking system

  • Antoine Martin
  • Cyril Monnet
  • Warren E. Weber

The behavior of interest rates under the U.S. National Banking System is puzzling because of the apparent presence of persistent and large unexploited arbitrage opportunities for note issuing banks. Previous attempts to explain interest rate behavior have relied on the cost or the inelasticity of note issue. These attempts are not entirely satisfactory. Here we propose a new rationale to solve the puzzle. Inelastic note issuance arises endogenously because the marginal cost of issuing notes is an increasing function of circulation. We build a spatial separation model where some fraction of agents must move each period. Banknotes can be carried between locations; deposits cannot. Taking the model to the data on national banks, we find it matches the movements in long-term interest rates well. It also predicts movements in deposit rates during panics. However, the model displays more inelasticity of notes issuance than is in the data.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its series Working Papers with number 601.

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Date of creation: 2000
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmwp:601
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  1. Bruce Champ & Neil Wallace & Warren E. Weber, 1992. "Resolving the national bank note paradox," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Spr, pages 13-21.
  2. Champ, Bruce & Freeman, Scott & Weber, Warren E, 1999. "Redemption Costs and Interest Rates under the U.S. National Banking System," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 31(3), pages 568-89, August.
  3. Gerald P. Dwyer, Jr. & R. Alton Gilbert, 1989. "Bank runs and private remedies," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 43-61.
  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. Bruce A. Champ & Neil Wallace & Warren E. Weber, 1993. "Interest rates under the U.S. national banking system," Staff Report 161, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  6. James, John A, 1976. "The Conundrum of the Low Issue of National Bank Notes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(2), pages 359-67, April.
  7. Cagan, Phillip & Schwartz, Anna J, 1991. "The National Bank Note Puzzle Reinterpreted," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 23(3), pages 293-307, August.
  8. Kuehlwein, Michael, 1992. "The National Bank Note Controversy Reexamined," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 24(1), pages 111-26, February.
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