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Societal Benefits of Nominal Bonds

Staff Report 275 | Published August 1, 2000

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Societal Benefits of Nominal Bonds


In this paper, I provide a possible explanation of why nominally risk-free bonds are essential in monetary economies. I argue that the role of nominal bonds is to serve as record-keeping devices in intertemporal exchanges of money. I show that bonds can only serve this role if they are illiquid (costly to exchange for goods). Finally, I show that in economies in which nominal bonds are essential, welfare and nominal interest rates are both positively associated with the supply of illiquid bonds (if that supply is small).