Central banking and the economics of information
This article concerns the potential relevance of information technology to three aspects of central banking: setting the objectives of monetary policy, ensuring the integrity and security of financial system infrastructure, and maintaining the transparency of decision-making. Regarding integrity and security of infrastructure, a revised role for central banks may be appropriate. However, recent innovations in technology and advances in learning confirm the wisdom of central banks' efforts to control inflation and maintain their own transparency.
Can a \\"credit crunch\\" be efficient?
Two observations have sometimes been viewed as evidence that the equilibrium allocations of intermediated credit markets are inefficient. First, low-income households' marginal propensity to consume is close to unity. Second, even high-income households seem to face nonprice constraints during recessions. This paper presents a model that possesses both of these features. (A recession is modeled as an economy in which the equilibrium level of investment is at its lowest possible level.) However, contrary to the conventional view, the equilibrium of this model is ex ante efficient. The model ...
Price level uniformity in a random matching model with perfectly patient traders
This paper shows that one of the defining features of Walrasian equilibrium---law of one price---characterizes equilibrium in a non-Walrasian environment of (1) random trade matching without double coincidence of wants, and (2) strategic, price-setting conduct. Money is modeled as perfectly divisible and there is no constraint on agents' money inventories. In such an environment with discounting, the endogenous heterogeneity of money balances among agents implies differences in marginal valuation of money between distinct pairs of traders, which raises the question whether decentralized trade ...
Electronic bill presentment and payment--is it just a click away?
This article addresses the following questions about electronic presentment and payment (EBPP) in the business-to-consumer marketplace: Why aren't electronically presented bills always paid electronically? And, if EBPP does aid in the migration to fully electronic end-to-end payment, what are the barriers to its adoption.
Formulating the imputed cost of equity capital for priced services at Federal Reserve banks
This paper was presented at the conference "Economic Statistics: New Needs for the Twenty-First Century," cosponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the Conference on Research in Income and Wealth, and the National Association for Business Economics, July 11, 2002. According to the 1980 Monetary Control Act, the Federal Reserve Banks must establish fees for their priced services to recover all operating costs as well as the imputed costs of capital and taxes that would be incurred by a profit-making firm. Since 2002, the Federal Reserve has made fundamental changes to the ...
On the emergence of parliamentary government: the role of private information
The way many dictators have been deposed in the 20th century resembles the way a parliamentary form of government emerged in 13th-century England. This medieval example is worth examining because the features that led to its political reform are particularly clear. Despite what many think, that reform cannot be understood simply as a shift in military power from ruler to subjects. Rather, understanding the reform requires understanding that the English king had recently acquired private information crucial to his subjects. Such private information became important after England lost Normandy ...
Dynamic monetary equilibrium in a random-matching economy
This article concerns decentralized trading and efficiency. As in Gale (1986a, b), traders transfer endowments of divisible goods in random, pairwise meetings that take place in discrete time. Anonymity and absence of time preference forestall strategic power. As in Kiyotaki and Wright (1989), and in contrast to Gale, trade and consumption occur repeatedly. Absence of double coincidence of wants makes money essential. There is a continuum of welfare-ranked equilibria in which the level of economic activity is decreasing in the price level, from which Gale abstracts by focusing on relative ...
Economic perspective on the political history of the Second Bank of the United States
The Second Bank of the United States was an institution of first-rank importance, both politically and economically, during the early nineteenth century. This article uses recent contributions to theory on industrial organization and monetary economics to argue tentatively that conflict between debtors and creditors may have played a larger role in the bank's fortunes than previously thought.
Will the new $100 bill decrease counterfeiting?
A current U.S. policy is to introduce a new style of currency that is harder to counterfeit, but not immediately to withdraw from circulation all of the old-style currency. This policy is analyzed in a random-matching model of money, and its potential to decrease counterfeiting in the long run is shown. For various parameters of the model, three types of equilibria are found to occur. In only one does counterfeiting continue at its initial high level. In the other two, both genuine and counterfeit old-style money go out of circulation - immediately in one and gradually in the other. There are ...