NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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On Money as a Medium of Exchange in Near-Cashless Credit Economies

Ricardo Lagos, Shengxing Zhang

NBER Working Paper No. 25803
Issued in May 2019
NBER Program(s):Monetary Economics

We study the transmission of monetary policy in credit economies where money serves as a medium of exchange. We find that—in contrast to current conventional wisdom in policy-oriented research in monetary economics—the role of money in transactions can be a powerful conduit to asset prices and ultimately, aggregate consumption, investment, output, and welfare. Theoretically, we show that the cashless limit of the monetary equilibrium (as the cash-and-credit economy converges to a pure-credit economy) need not correspond to the equilibrium of the nonmonetary pure-credit economy. Quantitatively, we find that the magnitudes of the responses of prices and allocations to monetary policy in the monetary economy are sizeable—even in the cashless limit. Hence, as tools to assess the effects of monetary policy, monetary models without money are generically poor approximations—even to idealized highly developed credit economies that are able to accommodate a large volume of transactions with arbitrarily small aggregate real money balances.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w25803

 
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