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Communal Responsibility and the Coexistence of Money and Credit Under Anonymous Matching

  • Lars Boerner
  • Albrecht Ritschl

Communal responsibility, a medieval institution studied by Greif (2006), supported the use of credit among European merchants in the absence of modern enforcement technologies. This paper shows how this mechanism helps to overcome enforcement problems in anonymous buyer/seller transactions. In a village economy version of the Lagos and Wright (2005) model, agents trading anonymously in decentralized markets can be identified by their citizenship and thus be held liable for each other. Enforceability within each village's centralized afternoon market ensures collateralization of credit in decentralized markets. In the resulting equilibrium, money and credit coexist in decentralized markets if the use of credit is costly. Our analysis easily extends itself to other payment systems like credit cards that provide a group identity to otherwise anonymous agents.

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Paper provided by Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany in its series SFB 649 Discussion Papers with number SFB649DP2010-060.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hum:wpaper:sfb649dp2010-060
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  1. Aleksander Berentsen & Gabriele Camera & Christopher Waller, . "Money, Credit and Banking," IEW - Working Papers 219, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  2. Ping He & Lixin Huang & Randall Wright, 2005. "Money And Banking In Search Equilibrium," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 46(2), pages 637-670, 05.
  3. Chatterjee, Satyajit & Corbae, Dean, 1996. "Money and finance with costly commitment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 225-248, April.
  4. Freeman, Scott & Huffman, Gregory W, 1991. "Inside Money, Output, and Causality," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 32(3), pages 645-67, August.
  5. Miquel Faig & Belén Jerez, 2006. "Inflation, Prices, and Information in Competitive Search," Working Papers tecipa-215, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  6. 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.
  7. Irina A. Telyukova & Randall Wright, 2006. "A Model of Money and Credit, with Application to the Credit Card Debt Puzzle," 2006 Meeting Papers 45, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  8. Lacker, Jeffrey M. & Schreft, Stacey L., 1996. "Money and credit as means of payment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 3-23, August.
  9. Börner, Lars & Hatfield, John William, 2010. "The economics of debt clearing mechanisms," Discussion Papers 2010/27, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
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