On Money as a Medium of Exchange in Near-Cashless Credit Economies

84 Pages Posted: 7 May 2019

See all articles by Ricardo Lagos

Ricardo Lagos

New York University (NYU) - Department of Economics

Shengxing Zhang

London School of Economics (LSE) - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 2019

Abstract

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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Suggested Citation

Lagos, Ricardo and Zhang, Shengxing, On Money as a Medium of Exchange in Near-Cashless Credit Economies (May 2019). NBER Working Paper No. w25803. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3383302

Ricardo Lagos (Contact Author)

New York University (NYU) - Department of Economics ( email )

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Shengxing Zhang

London School of Economics (LSE) - Department of Economics ( email )

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London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

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