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The Price Theory of Money, Prospero's Liquidity Trap, and Sudden Stop: Back to Basics and Back

Listed author(s):
  • Guillermo A. Calvo

Fiat money contains the seeds of its own destruction. It has no intrinsic value and, yet, it can be exchanged for valuable consumption and production goods. As Hahn (1965) shows, this situation puts fiat money's market value or liquidity premium at the brink of collapse. In this paper I will argue that (1) sticky prices, especially when staggered, provide output backing to fiat money, helping to sustain fiat money's liquidity premium and, thus, lowering the risk of a liquidity meltdown. I call this view the Price Theory of Money; (2) fixed-income assets linked to fiat money, especially if they are perceived to have low counter-party risk (like US Treasury bills, AAA bonds or Asset-Backed Securities) can take advantage of point (1) to become quasi-moneys; (3) this gives incentives to the private sector to create those assets; (4) however, unless protected by a Lender of Last Resort, the new assets' liquidity premium can quickly and massively evaporate in what I call (with a wink to the Bard) a Prospero's Liquidity Trap; (5) the latter lowers the market value of loan collateral and clogs the credit channel, bringing about a credit event or Sudden Stop, with severe output and employment consequences.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18285.

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Date of creation: Aug 2012
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18285
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  2. Guillermo A. Calvo & Alejandro Izquierdo & Luis Fernando Mejía, 2008. "Systemic Sudden Stops: The Relevance of Balance-Sheet Effects and Financial Integration," Research Department Publications 4581, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  3. Reinhart, Karmen & Rogoff, Kenneth, 2009. ""This time is different": panorama of eight centuries of financial crises," Economic Policy, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, vol. 1, pages 77-114, March.
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  6. Aizenman, Joshua & Marion, Nancy, 2009. "Using Inflation to Erode the U.S. Public Debt," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt6xf174rs, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
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  9. Borio Claudio, 2011. "Implementing a Macroprudential Framework: Blending Boldness and Realism," Capitalism and Society, De Gruyter, vol. 6(1), pages 1-25, August.
  10. Guillermo A. Calvo, 2006. "Monetary Policy Challenges in Emerging Markets: Sudden Stop, Liability Dollarization, and Lender of Last Resort," Research Department Publications 4504, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  11. Martin Uribe, 1995. "Hysteresis in a simple model of currency substitution," International Finance Discussion Papers 509, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  12. Guillermo A. Calvo & Alejandro Izquierdo & Ernesto Talvi, 2006. "Phoenix Miracles in Emerging Markets: Recovering without Credit from Systemic Financial Crises," Research Department Publications 4474, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  13. Guillermo A. Calvo, 2007. "Interest Rate Rules, Inflation Stabilization, and Imperfect Credibility: The Small Open Economy Case," NBER Working Papers 13177, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Guillermo A. Calvo & Carmen M. Reinhart, 2000. "Fear of Floating," NBER Working Papers 7993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Arvind Krishnamurthy & Annette Vissing-Jorgensen, 2012. "The Aggregate Demand for Treasury Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 120(2), pages 233-267.
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  26. Guillermo A. Calvo & Fabrizio Coricelli & Pablo Ottonello, 2012. "Labor Market, Financial Crises and Inflation: Jobless and Wageless Recoveries," NBER Working Papers 18480, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Gorton, Gary B., 2010. "Slapped by the Invisible Hand: The Panic of 2007," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199734153, December.
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