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A Theoretical Approach to Electronic Money


  • Nadia Piffaretti

    (University of Fribourg, Switzerland)


The paper proposes an analysis of money which starts from electronic money. In open contradiction to the traditional approach, characterized by a general lack of interest by theoreticians towards payment system issues, the paper argues that analysis of the distinctive characteristics of electronic money is bound to contribute to received monetary theory. After indicating the distinguishing properties of electronic money (which derive entirely from its technical features), the paper outlines their consequences on the principles of monetary theory. It is argued that recognition of the fact that electronic money is nominal money issued in an operation of monetary intermediation, provides an analytical framework for a better understanding of electronic money issuance, as well as of the meaning of issuing money. The analysis will show that only a deep analysis into the very nature of bank money can provide a better understanding of phenomena such as electronic money, which is consistent with the evolution of financial and banking innovations, in particular with the rise of interest bearing mediums of exchange.

Suggested Citation

  • Nadia Piffaretti, 1998. "A Theoretical Approach to Electronic Money," Macroeconomics 9803005, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpma:9803005
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. William Roberds, 1997. "What's really new about the new forms of retail payment?," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, issue Q 1, pages 32-45.
    2. Barbara A. Good, 1997. "Electronic money," Working Paper 9716, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    3. J. David Germany & John E. Morton, 1985. "Financial innovation and deregulation in foreign industrial countries," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Oct, pages 743-753.
    4. Stuber, Gerald, 1996. "The Electronic Purse: An Overview of Recent Developments and Policy Issues," Technical Reports 74, Bank of Canada.
    5. John P. Caskey & Gordon H. Sellon, 1994. "Is the debit card revolution finally here?," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q IV, pages 79-95.
    6. Paul W. Bauer, 1995. "Making payments in cyberspace," Economic Commentary, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Oct.
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    More about this item


    Electronic money monetary theory;

    JEL classification:

    • E40 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - General

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