Staff Report 62

A Suggestion for Further Simplifying the Theory of Money

Neil Wallace
John Bryant

Revised December 1, 1980

Our suggestion consists of three postulates: assets are valued only in terms of their payoffs, perfect foresight, and complete and costless markets under laissez-faire. Together these postulates imply that the crucial anomaly, rate-of-return dominance of “money,” is to be explained by legal restrictions.

Our defense of these postulates is two-fold. First we compare them with existing alternative theories. Second, we provide an illustrative model which : (a) is consistent with the postulates, (b) implies rate-of-return dominance under suitable legal restrictions, and (c) addresses monetary policy questions with standard welfare economics and, in particular, rationalizes in terms of price discrimination a debt management policy that “tailors debt issues to the needs of the market.”

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