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Complementary Currencies and Liquidity: The Case of Coca-Base Money
In coca-growing villages of Colombia, where pesos are scarce, coca-base is not only used as the main input for cocaine production—it also acts as a complementary currency (CC), circulating locally as a medium of exchange for day-to-day transactions. This paper provides a clear rationale for the economically-motivated adoption of a CC in a small open economy underprovided with official currency. An equilibrium currency shortage arises endogenously in our model, whereby shocks to the local supply of currency have a real impact on local trade and welfare. We show how a CC can mitigate the ...