This paper develops the Kiyotaki-Wright model of monetary general equilibrium in which trade is bilateral and enforced by requiring that transactions be quid pro quo, and studies which goods are chosen, and under what conditions, as media of exchange. We prove the existence of a rational expectations equilibrium in which agents' expectations concerning trading opportunities are realized in the present and all future periods. We also show that, exceptional cases aside, no rational expectations barter equilibrium exists; that an equilibrium generally supports multiple money goods; and that a fiat money (i.e., a good that is produced, has minimum storage costs, but is not consumed) cannot be traded in rational expectations equilibrium.
We explain why contracting parties may choose ambiguous financial contracts. Introducing ambiguity may be optimal, even when unambiguous contracts can be costlessly written. We show that an ambiguous contract has two advantages. First, it permits the guarantor to sacrifice reputational capital in order to preserve financial capital as well as information reusability in states where such tradeoff is optimal. Second, it fosters the development of reputation. This theory is then used to explain ambiguity in mutual fund contracts, bank loan commitments, bank holding company relationships, the investment banker's "highly confident" letter, non-recourse debt contracts in project financing, and other financial contracts.
The data and press commentaries studied in this paper call for a reinterpretation of the French inflationary crisis and its stabilization in 1926. In contrast with T. J. Sargent's (1984) interpretation, there is evidence that the budgetary situation was well in hand and that only fear of a capital levy made the public unwilling to buy government bonds. As a result, the government had to repay the bonds coming to maturity with monetary financing. Only when Poincare introduced a bill to shift the tax burden off bondholders did the demand for government bonds recover and inflation stop.
Traditional theories of asset pricing assume there is complete market participation so all investors participate in all markets. In this case changes in preferences typically have only a small effect on asset prices and are not an important determinant of asset price volatility. However, there is considerable empirical evidence that most investors participate in a limited number of markets. We show that limited market participation can amplify the effect of changes in preferences so that an arbitrarily small degree of aggregate uncertainty in preferences can cause a large degree of price volatility. We also show that in addition to this equilibrium with limited participation and volatile asset prices, there may exist a Pareto-preferred equilibrium with complete participation and less volatility.
We describe a stochastic economic environment in which the mix of money and trade credit used as means of payment is endogenous. The economy has an infinite horizon, spatial separation and a credit-related transaction cost, but no capital. We find that the equilibrium prices of arbitrary contingent claims to future currency differ from those from one-good cash-in-advance models. This anomaly is directly related to the endogeneity of the mix of media of exchange used. In particular, nominal interest rates affect the risk-free real rate of return. The model also has implications for some long-standing issues in monetary policy and for time series analysis using money and trade credit.
In this paper we examine the evidence for two competing views of how monetary and financial disturbances influenced the real economy during the national banking era, 1880-1914. According to the monetarist view, monetary disturbances affected the real economy through changes on the liability side of the banking system's balance sheet independent of the composition of bank portfolios. According to the credit rationing view, equilibrium credit rationing in a world of asymmetric information can explain short-run fluctuations in real output. Using structural VARs we incorporate monetary variables in credit models and credit variables in monetarist models, with inconclusive results. To resolve this ambiguity, we invoke the institutional features of the national banking era. Most of the variation in bank loans is accounted for by loans secured by stock, which in turn reflect volatility in the stock market. When account is taken of the stock market, the influence of credit in the VAR model is greatly reduced, while the influence of money remains robust. The breakdown of the composition of bank loans into stock market loans (traded in open asset markets) and other business loans (a possible setting for credit rationing) reveals that other business loans remained remarkably stable over the business cycle.