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Can currency competition work?
Can competition work among privately issued fiat currencies such as Bitcoin or Ethereum? Only sometimes. To show this, we build a model of competition among privately issued fiat currencies. We modify the current workhorse of monetary economics, the Lagos-Wright environment, by including entrepreneurs who can issue their own fiat currencies in order to maximize their utility. Otherwise, the model is standard. We show that there exists an equilibrium in which price stability is consistent with competing private monies but also that there exists a continuum of equilibrium trajectories with the ...
On the inherent instability of private money
A primary concern in monetary economics is whether a purely private monetary regime is consistent with macroeconomic stability. I show that a competitive regime is inherently unstable due to the properties of endogenously determined limits on private money creation. Precisely, there is a continuum of equilibria characterized by a self-fulfilling collapse of the value of private money and a persistent decline in the demand for money. I associate these equilibrium allocations with self-fulfilling banking crises. It is possible to formulate a fiscal intervention that results in the global ...
Private Money Creation with Safe Assets and Term Premia
It has been documented that an increase in the demand for safe assets induces the private sector to create more money-like claims. Focusing on private repos backed by U.S. Treasury securities, I show that an increase in the demand for safe assets leads to a decreases in the issuance of Treasury repos. The intuition is that Treasury securities already function as a safe asset, thus in terms of safe asset creation, private Treasury repos are neutral. In the model, Treasury repos are beneficial because they shift risk (i.e. term premia) from relatively risk averse households to a more risk ...
Private money and banking regulation
We show that a competitive banking system is inconsistent with an optimum quantity of private money. Because bankers cannot commit to their promises and the composition of their assets is not publicly observable, a positive franchise value is required to induce the full convertibility of bank liabilities. Under perfect competition, a positive franchise value can be obtained only if the return on bank liabilities is sufficiently low, which imposes a cost on those who hold these liabilities for transaction purposes. If the banking system is monopolistic, then an efficient allocation is ...