Efficient Payments and Price Distribution
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Strasbourg University, LARGE; EM Strasbourg Business School; Telecom ParisTech
September 4, 2009
The studies dealing with the efficiency of monetary denomination systems are usually based on a restrictive assumption: prices paid cash are assumed to be evenly distributed in the economy. Using an empirical (observed) distribution of prices in the French economy, this paper measures the losses in efficiency when using a uniform distribution of prices. We show that i. the average number of tokens used in transactions when observed prices are concerned is around two times less than that obtained when prices are evenly distributed; ii. considering a uniform distribution of prices leads to overestimate the average frequency of use of larger denominations and to underestimate the average frequency of use of lower denominations, at least the one euro denomination; iii. the probability of existence of a price, the number of occurences of a price, the proportion of lower prices and, finally, the proportion of round prices are central to explain the observed payment efficiency. At the end, the simulations provide useful clues to better understanding how and why the price distribution affects payment efficiency.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 12
Keywords: currency denomination, monetary denomination efficiency
JEL Classification: E4, E47
Date posted: November 15, 2009 ; Last revised: June 25, 2010
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