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Money as Stock: Price Level Determination with no Money Demand

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  • John H. Cochrane

Abstract

I show that a determinate, finite price level can be achieved in an economy with no monetary frictions, and no commodity standard or other explicit redemption commitment. I make one small modification to a standard cash in advance model: I reopen the security market at the end of the day. With this modification, overnight money demand is precisely zero. I show that the price level is still determined, however, by the government debt valuation equation. Nominal government debt is, despite appearances, a residual claim to government surpluses. Thus, the price level is determined just like the price of stock, and just as if we used (say) Microsoft stock as numeraire, unit of account, and medium of exchange. I resolve Buiter's (1999) criticism that fiscal price level determination mis-treats the government budget constraint. The government is not forced by a budget constraint to raise surpluses in response to an off-equilibrium deflation, just as Microsoft is not forced to raise earnings if there is a bubble in its stock price. I also address McCallum's (1998) criticism that fiscal models do not properly treat indeterminacies, and a number of other confusions and misconceptions surrounding fiscal price level determination. I provide a taxonomy of fiscal and monetary regimes.

Suggested Citation

  • John H. Cochrane, 2000. "Money as Stock: Price Level Determination with no Money Demand," NBER Working Papers 7498, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7498
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Leeper, Eric M., 1991. "Equilibria under 'active' and 'passive' monetary and fiscal policies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 129-147, February.
    2. Buiter, Willem H., 1998. "The Young Person's Guide to Neutrality, Price Level Indeterminacy, Interest Rate Pegs and Fiscal Theories of the Price Level," CEPR Discussion Papers 1799, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    12. Heidi Willmann Richards, 1995. "Daylight overdraft fees and the Federal Reserve's payment system risk policy," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Dec, pages 1065-1077.
    13. Friedman, Benjamin M, 1999. "The Future of Monetary Policy: The Central Bank as an Army with Only a Signal Corps?," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 2(3), pages 321-338, November.
    14. Rao Aiyagari, S. & Gertler, Mark, 1985. "The backing of government bonds and monetarism," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 19-44, July.
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    JEL classification:

    • F3 - International Economics - - International Finance

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