In “The Inefficiency of Interest-Bearing National Debt,” (JPE, April 1979) we argued that private sector transaction costs are needed in order to explain interest on government debt. It follows that if the government’s transaction costs do not depend on its portfolio, then, barring special circumstances, an open-market purchase is deflationary and welfare improving. In this paper we show that this result can survive a potentially relevant special circumstance: reserve requirements which limit the size of insured intermediaries.
This paper presents a welfare analysis of monetary policy rules that differ as regards the extent to which monetary policy accommodates an exogenous, stochastic deficit. Examples show that a nonaccommodating rule, one involving a higher ratio of bonds to currency the higher the deficit, is not necessarily better than rules that accommodate: either a rule involving a constant ratio of bonds to currency or one involving a lower ratio of bonds to currency the higher the deficit. Moreover, the nonaccommodating rule can imply more variation in the price level than the accommodating rules.
The formation and maintenance of the institutions of money and a futures market are analyzed in an overlapping generations model with a first period. With money and a futures market the economy converges to the allocation where costly transactions are foregone and marginal products and marginal utilities equated. However, neither institution may be formed, or money may be formed without a futures market. Moreover, stochastic output technologies raise the possibility of persistent recession and depression and of valuable government insurance of the futures market.