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Bank Deregulation, Accounting Systems of Exchange, and the Unit of Account: A Critical Review


  • Bennett T. McCallum


This paper reviews a specific group of recent publications by Black, Fama, Hall, and Greenfield and Yeager that (i) encourage the relaxation of government controls on the banking industry, (ii) emphasize the possibility of an economy in which most transactions are carried out through an accounting system rather than any tangible medium of exchange, and (iii)suggest that improved monetary performance could be induced by separating the unit of account from the medium of exchange.The main substantive conclusions are as follows. First, a system with an unregulated banking sector and a government-issued currency would be viable and might reduce inefficiencies resulting from reserve requirements, a point that has been recognized by neoclassical monetary economists.The second main class of systems discussed in the reviewed papers -- one with a composite-commodity medium of account and no convertibility provision -- is quite different. If there were literally no medium of exchange, the non-coercive government designation of the unit of account would encounter no inconsistency but would be extremely fragile. More realistically, with some circulating private currency the latter would tend to become the medium of account as well as the medium of exchange and would tend to be issued in excess, thereby separating the unit of account from the officially-designated bundle of commodities. Several conclusions regarding analytical approach are also developed.

Suggested Citation

  • Bennett T. McCallum, 1985. "Bank Deregulation, Accounting Systems of Exchange, and the Unit of Account: A Critical Review," NBER Working Papers 1572, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1572
    Note: ME

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    Cited by:

    1. Strobel, Frank, 2012. "International tax arbitrage, currency options and put-call parity conditions," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 473-486.
    2. J. Aschheim & G.S. Tavlas, 1994. "Nominal anchors for monetary policy: a doctrinal analysis," Banca Nazionale del Lavoro Quarterly Review, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, vol. 47(191), pages 469-494.
    3. Holger Wolf, 2002. "Imaginary moneys as international units of account," Applied Financial Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(1), pages 1-8.
    4. McCallum, Bennett T, 2000. "The Present and Future of Monetary Policy Rules," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(2), pages 273-286, July.
    5. Strobel, Frank, 2001. "International tax arbitrage, tax evasion and interest parity conditions," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 413-427, December.
    6. Colin Rogers & Thomas K. Rymes, 1998. "Indirect Convertibility and Quasi-Futures Contracts: Two Non-Operational Schemes for Automatic Stabilisation of the Price Level?," School of Economics Working Papers 1998-17, University of Adelaide, School of Economics.
    7. Colin Rogers, 2004. "Doing Without Money: A critical assessment of Woodford's analysis," Method and Hist of Econ Thought 0411001, EconWPA.
    8. Bennett T. McCallum & Marvin S. Goodfriend, 1988. "Theoretical analysis of the demand of money," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Jan, pages 16-24.
    9. Kenneth A. Froot & Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1986. "Interpreting Tests of Forward Discount Bias Using Survey Data on Exchange Rate Expectations," NBER Working Papers 1963, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Cesarano, Filippo, 1995. "The New Monetary Economics and the theory of money," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 445-455, May.

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