IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

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

  • 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.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

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

in new window

Date of creation: Aug 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18285
Note: IFM
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Gary B. Gorton & Andrew Metrick, 2009. "Securitized Banking and the Run on Repo," NBER Working Papers 15223, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Aizenman, Joshua & Marion, Nancy, 2011. "Using inflation to erode the US public debt," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 524-541.
  3. Blejer, Mario I & Leiderman, Leonardo, 1980. "On the Real Effects of Inflation and Relative-Price Variability: Some Empirical Evidence," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 62(4), pages 539-44, November.
  4. 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.
  5. Alejandro Izquierdo & Ernesto Talvi & Guillermo A Calvo, 2006. "Phoenix miracles in emerging markets: recovering without credit from systemic financial crises," BIS Working Papers 221, Bank for International Settlements.
  6. Obstfeld, Maurice & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1986. "Ruling out divergent speculative bubbles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 349-362, May.
  7. Gorton, Gary B., 2010. "Slapped by the Invisible Hand: The Panic of 2007," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199734153.
  8. Reinhart, Carmen & Reinhart, Vincent, 2010. "Diminished Expectations, Double Dips, and External Shocks: The Decade After the Fall," MPRA Paper 24969, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro & Wright, Randall, 1989. "On Money as a Medium of Exchange," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 927-54, August.
  10. Starr, Ross M, 1974. "The Price of Money in a Pure Exchange Monetary Economy with Taxation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 42(1), pages 45-54, January.
  11. Guillermo A. Calvo & Alejandro Izquierdo & Luis Fernando Mejía, 2008. "Systemic Sudden Stops: The Relevance of Balance-Sheet Effects and Financial Integration," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 6747, Inter-American Development Bank.
  12. Guillermo A. Calvo & Carmen M. Reinhart, 2000. "Fear of Floating," NBER Working Papers 7993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Jordi Galí & Tommaso Monacelli, 2004. "Monetary policy and exchange rate volatility in a small open economy," Economics Working Papers 835, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  14. 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.
  15. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521671798 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. Calvo, Guillermo & Coricelli, Fabrizio & Ottonello, Pablo, 2012. "The Labor Market Consequences of Financial Crises With or Without Inflation: Jobless and Wageless Recoveries," CEPR Discussion Papers 9218, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. 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.
  18. Reinhart, Carmen & Calvo, Guillermo, 2001. "Fixing for your life," MPRA Paper 13873, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  19. Reinhart, Carmen, 2009. "The Second Great Contraction," MPRA Paper 21485, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  20. Ana Fostel & John Geanakoplos, 2012. "Tranching, CDS, and Asset Prices: How Financial Innovation Can Cause Bubbles and Crashes," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 190-225, January.
  21. Uribe, Martin, 1997. "Hysteresis in a simple model of currency substitution," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 185-202, September.
  22. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1980. "Equilibrium in a Pure Currency Economy," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 18(2), pages 203-20, April.
  23. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521633178 is not listed on IDEAS
  24. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth Rogoff, 1982. "Speculative Hyperinflations in Maximizing Models: Can We Rule Them Out?," NBER Working Papers 0855, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Guillermo A. Calvo, 2005. "Emerging Capital Markets in Turmoil: Bad Luck or Bad Policy?," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262033348, June.
  26. Friedman, Milton, 1977. "Nobel Lecture: Inflation and Unemployment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 451-72, June.
  27. 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.
  28. Guillermo A. Calvo, 2009. "FINANCIAL CRISES AND LIQUIDITY SHOCKS: A Bank-Run Perspective," NBER Working Papers 15425, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. Borio Claudio, 2011. "Implementing a Macroprudential Framework: Blending Boldness and Realism," Capitalism and Society, De Gruyter, vol. 6(1), pages 1-25, August.
  30. Jeremy C. Stein, 2012. "Monetary Policy as Financial Stability Regulation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(1), pages 57-95.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18285. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.