David C. Mills, Jr.
Abstract: One of the fundamental questions concerning inside money is whether its issuers should be regulated and how. This paper evaluates the efficiency of one prevalent regulatory recommendation -- a requirement that private issuers redeem inside money on demand at par -- in a random-matching model of money where the issuers of inside money are only imperfectly monitored. I find that for sufficiently imperfect monitoring, a par redemption requirement leads to lower social welfare than if private money were redeemed at a discount. A central message of the paper is that if inside money and outside money are not perfect substitutes for one another, as is the case if there is sufficiently imperfect monitoring, a par redemption requirement may not be socially optimal because such a requirement effectively binds them to circulate as if they are. Such an outcome is a version of Gresham's law that bad money drives out good money.
Keywords: Inside and outside money, electronic money, imperfect monitoring, Gresham's lawFull paper (247 KB PDF) | Full paper (Screen Reader Version)