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Which Improves Welfare More: Nominal or Indexed Bond?


  • Magill, M.
  • Quinzii, M.


Despite economists'' long standing arguments in favor of systematic indexation of loan contracts to remove the risks associated with fluctuations in the purchasing power of money (Jevons (1875), Marshall (1887, 1923), F~lsher (1922), Friedman (1991)), surprisingly few loan contracts are indexed in most Western Eclonomies. fin the United States even thirty year corporate and government bonds are not indexed. The situation is however different in many Latin American countries where indexing is widely used as a way of coping with high and variable inflation rates. What seems difiicult to eicplain is that it takes lvgh variability in inflation rates before private sector agents shift from lmindexed to indexed contracts. In practice, indexing a loan contract m.eans linking its payoff to the value of an officially computed price index such as the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Such an index is always an imperfect measure of the purchasing power of money: in particular, it fluctuates not only with variations in the general level of prices but also varies with changes in the relative prices of goods. This paper formalizes the idea that the imperfections of indexing may serve tal explain why agents prefer nominal bonds in economies with a low variability in purchasing power of money and only resort to indexing when the variability becomes sufficiently high. The model is a variant of the two-period general equilibrium model with incomplete markets (GEI) in which the purchasing power of money depends on a (broadly defined) measure of the amount of money available in the economy and on an index of real output. The objective of the analysis is to compare two second-best situations, in which in addition to a given security structure, there is either a nominal bond which has the risks induced by fluctuations in the purchasing power of money or an indexed bond which has the risks induced by relative price fluctuations. Adding a bond to an existing market structure has two effects: the
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Suggested Citation

  • Magill, M. & Quinzii, M., 1995. "Which Improves Welfare More: Nominal or Indexed Bond?," Papers 95-20, California Davis - Institute of Governmental Affairs.
  • Handle: RePEc:fth:caldav:95-20

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Feenstra, Robert C, 1994. "New Product Varieties and the Measurement of International Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 157-177, March.
    2. repec:fth:michin:324 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Dani Rodrik, 1994. "Industrial Organization and Product Quality: Evidence from South Korean and Taiwanese Exports," NBER Chapters,in: Empirical Studies of Strategic Trade Policy, pages 195-210 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    5. Donald R. Davis, 1991. "Explaining the volume of intraindustry trade: are increasing returns necessary?," International Finance Discussion Papers 411, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    6. Hummels, D. & Levinsohn, J., 1993. "Product Differentiation as a Source of Comparative Advantage?," Working Papers 324, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
    7. Robert Z. Lawrence, 1991. "Efficient or Exclusionist: The Import Behavior of Japanese Corporate Groups," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 22(1), pages 311-341.
    8. Sato, Kazuo, 1976. "The Ideal Log-Change Index Number," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 58(2), pages 223-228, May.
    9. K.C. Fung, 1991. "Characteristics of Japanese Industrial Groups and Their Potential Impact on U. S . - Japanese Trade," NBER Chapters,in: Empirical Studies of Commercial Policy, pages 137-168 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Durdu, Ceyhun Bora, 2009. "Quantitative implications of indexed bonds in small open economies," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 883-902, April.

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    JEL classification:

    • G10 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • H81 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - Governmental Loans; Loan Guarantees; Credits; Grants; Bailouts


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