Creator: Ales, Laurence, Carapella, Francesca, Maziero, Pricila, and Weber, Warren E. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 641 Abstract:
Prior to 1863, state-chartered banks in the United States issued notes–dollar-denominated promises to pay specie to the bearer on demand. Although these notes circulated at par locally, they usually were quoted at a discount outside the local area. These discounts varied by both the location of the bank and the location where the discount was being quoted. Further, these discounts were asymmetric across locations, meaning that the discounts quoted in location A on the notes of banks in location B generally differed from the discounts quoted in location B on the notes of banks in location A. Also, discounts generally increased when banks suspended payments on their notes. In this paper we construct a random matching model to qualitatively match these facts about banknote discounts. To attempt to account for locational differences, the model has agents that come from two distinct locations. Each location also has bankers that can issue notes. Banknotes are accepted in exchange because banks are required to produce when a banknote is presented for redemption and their past actions are public information. Overall, the model delivers predictions consistent with the behavior of discounts.
Keyword: Banknotes, Banks, and Random matching Subject (JEL): G21 - Banks; Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages, E50 - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit: General, and N21 - Economic History: Financial Markets and Institutions: U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
Creator: Redish, Angela, 1952- and Weber, Warren E. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 658 Abstract:
Commodity money standards in medieval and early modern Europe were characterized by recurring complaints of small change shortages and by numerous debasements of the coinage. To confront these facts, we build a random matching monetary model with two indivisible coins with different intrinsic values. The model shows that small change shortages can exist in the sense that changes in the size of the small coin affect ex ante welfare. Further, the optimal ratio of coin sizes is shown to depend upon the trading opportunities in a country and a country’s wealth. Thus, coinage debasements can be interpreted as optimal responses to changes in fundamentals. Further, the model shows that replacing full-bodied small coins with tokens is not necessarily welfare-improving.
Keyword: Gresham's Law, Random matching, Commodity money, and Optimal denominations
Creator: Velde, François R., Weber, Warren E., and Wright, Randall D. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 215 Abstract:
We develop a model of commodity money and use it to analyze the following two questions motivated by issues in monetary history: What are the conditions under which Gresham’s Law holds? And, what are the mechanics of a debasement (lowering the metallic content of coins)? The model contains light and heavy coins, imperfect information, and prices determined via bilateral bargaining. There are equilibria with neither, both, or only one type of coin in circulation. When both circulate, coins may trade by weight or by tale. We discuss the extent to which Gresham’s Law holds in the various cases. Following a debasement, the quantity of reminting depends on the incentives offered by the sovereign. Equilibria exist with positive seigniorage and a mixture of old and new coins in circulation.
Keyword: Commodity money, Gresham's Law, Debasement, Asymmetric information, and Random matching Subject (JEL): E42 - Monetary Systems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System; Payment Systems and N10 - Economic History: Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations: General, International, or Comparative