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Decentralized Exchange and Factor Payments: A Multiple-Matching Approach

The emergence of fiat money is studied in an environment in which exchange is organized around trading posts where many producers and shoppers are matched in a dynamic monopolistically competitive framework. Each household consumes a bundle of commodities and has a preference for consumption variety. Within this multiple matching structure we determine the endogenous organization of exchange between firms and shoppers and the means of factor payment (remuneration) as well as the price at which these trades occur. Although each household contacts many sellers, the specialization of tastes implies that the variety of the consumption basket under barter mediated exchange is sparser than that obtained under monetary exchange. We verify that the endogenous linkage of factor payments with the medium of exchange can lead to a monetary equilibrium outcome where only fiat money trades for goods, an ex-ante feature of cash-in-advance models. We also examine the long-run effects of money growth on the equilibrium pattern of exchange. A primary finding, consistent with documented hyperinflationary episodes, is that a sufficiently rapid expansion of money supply and inflation leads to the gradual emergence of barter. Under these circumstances sellers will accept both goods and cash payments whereas workers receive part of their remuneration in goods.

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Paper provided by Villanova School of Business Department of Economics and Statistics in its series Villanova School of Business Department of Economics and Statistics Working Paper Series with number 6.

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Date of creation: Apr 2009
Handle: RePEc:vil:papers:6
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