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Game-theoretic foundations of monetary equilibrium


  • Camera, Gabriele
  • Gioffré, Alessandro


Monetary theorists have advanced an intriguing notion: we exchange money to make up for a lack of enforcement, when it is difficult to monitor and sanction opportunistic behaviors. We demonstrate that, in fact, monetary equilibrium cannot generally be sustained when monitoring and punishment limitations preclude enforcement - external or not. Simply put, monetary systems cannot operate independently of institutions - formal or informal - designed to monitor behaviors and sanction undesirable ones. This fundamental result is derived by integrating monetary theory with the theory of repeated games, studying monetary equilibrium as the outcome of a matching game with private monitoring.

Suggested Citation

  • Camera, Gabriele & Gioffré, Alessandro, 2013. "Game-theoretic foundations of monetary equilibrium," SAFE Working Paper Series 32, Research Center SAFE - Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe, Goethe University Frankfurt.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:safewp:32

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kocherlakota, Narayana R., 1998. "Money Is Memory," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 232-251, August.
    2. Koeppl, Thorsten V., 2007. "Optimal dynamic risk sharing when enforcement is a decision variable," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 134(1), pages 34-60, May.
    3. Erik O. Kimbrough & Vernon L. Smith & Bart J. Wilson, 2008. "Historical Property Rights, Sociality, and the Emergence of Impersonal Exchange in Long-Distance Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 1009-1039, June.
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    5. Araujo, Luis & Guimaraes, Bernardo, 2014. "Coordination in the use of money," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 38-46.
    6. Gabriele Camera & Marco Casari, 2009. "Cooperation among Strangers under the Shadow of the Future," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 979-1005, June.
    7. Glenn Ellison, 1994. "Cooperation in the Prisoner's Dilemma with Anonymous Random Matching," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(3), pages 567-588.
    8. Avinash Dixit, 2003. "On Modes of Economic Governance," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(2), pages 449-481, March.
    9. Ostroy, Joseph M. & Starr, Ross M., 1990. "The transactions role of money," Handbook of Monetary Economics,in: B. M. Friedman & F. H. Hahn (ed.), Handbook of Monetary Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 1, pages 3-62 Elsevier.
    10. Araujo, Luis, 2004. "Social norms and money," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 241-256, March.
    11. Gabriele Camera & Marco Casari, 2014. "The Coordination Value of Monetary Exchange: Experimental Evidence," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 290-314, February.
    12. Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro & Wright, Randall, 1993. "A Search-Theoretic Approach to Monetary Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 63-77, March.
    13. Stefan Krasa & Anne P. Villamil, 2000. "Optimal Contracts when Enforcement Is a Decision Variable," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(1), pages 119-134, January.
    14. Kimbrough, Erik O. & Smith, Vernon L. & Wilson, Bart J., 2010. "Exchange, theft, and the social formation of property," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 74(3), pages 206-229, June.
    15. Michihiro Kandori, 1992. "Social Norms and Community Enforcement," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(1), pages 63-80.
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    More about this item


    Social norms; repeated games; cooperation; payment systems;

    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
    • C7 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory

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