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Money as a Unit of Account

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  • Matthias Doepke
  • Martin Schneider

Abstract

We develop a theory that rationalizes the use of a dominant unit of account in an economy. Agents enter into non-contingent contracts with a variety of business partners. Trade unfolds sequentially in credit chains and is subject to random matching. By using a dominant unit of account, agents can lower their exposure to relative price risk, avoid costly default, and create more total surplus. We discuss conditions under which it is optimal to adopt circulating government paper as the dominant unit of account, and the optimal choice of “currency areas” when there is variation in the intensity of trade within and across regions.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthias Doepke & Martin Schneider, 2013. "Money as a Unit of Account," NBER Working Papers 19537, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19537
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ricardo Lagos & Randall Wright, 2005. "A Unified Framework for Monetary Theory and Policy Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(3), pages 463-484, June.
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    3. Paul A. Samuelson, 1958. "An Exact Consumption-Loan Model of Interest with or without the Social Contrivance of Money," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66, pages 467-467.
    4. Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro & Wright, Randall, 1989. "On Money as a Medium of Exchange," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 927-954, August.
    5. Neumeyer, Pablo Andres, 1998. "Inflation-stabilization risk in economies with incomplete asset markets," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 371-391, November.
    6. Bohn, Henning, 1988. "Why do we have nominal government debt?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 127-140, January.
    7. Matthias Doepke & Martin Schneider, 2006. "Aggregate Implications of Wealth Redistribution: The Case of Inflation," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(2-3), pages 493-502, 04-05.
    8. Meh, Césaire A. & Ríos-Rull, José-Víctor & Terajima, Yaz, 2010. "Aggregate and welfare effects of redistribution of wealth under inflation and price-level targeting," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(6), pages 637-652, September.
    9. Sims, Christopher A, 2001. "Fiscal Consequences for Mexico of Adopting the Dollar," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 33(2), pages 597-616, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Juliane M. Begenau, 2015. "Capital Requirements, Risk Choice, and Liquidity Provision in a Business Cycle Model," Harvard Business School Working Papers 15-072, Harvard Business School, revised Sep 2016.
    2. Gita Gopinath & Jeremy C. Stein, 2018. "Banking, Trade, and the making of a Dominant Currency," NBER Working Papers 24485, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Strunz, Sebastian & Bartkowski, Bartosz & Schindler, Harry, 2015. "Is there a monetary growth imperative?," UFZ Discussion Papers 5/2015, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), Division of Social Sciences (ÖKUS).
    4. McLeay, Michael & Radia, Amar & Thomas, Ryland, 2014. "Money in the modern economy: an introduction," Bank of England Quarterly Bulletin, Bank of England, vol. 54(1), pages 4-13.
    5. Juliane Begenau, 2015. "Capital Requirements, Risk Choice, and Liquidity Provision in a Business Cycle Model," 2015 Meeting Papers 687, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    6. Claudio Borio & Anna Zabai, 2016. "Unconventional monetary policies: a re-appraisal," BIS Working Papers 570, Bank for International Settlements.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E4 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates
    • E5 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit
    • F33 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Monetary Arrangements and Institutions

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