About Current Scholarship

This page contains abstracts and links to recent scholarship on monetary design and related issues. We also welcome posts to older scholarship that should be flagged.
Please submit abstracts to Dan Rohde:

Current Scholarship
The ECB and € E-Banknotes

Corinne Zellweger-Gutknecht, University of Basel, Benjamin Geva, Osgoode Hall Law School, Seraina N. Gruenewald, Radbound University Nijmegen

The modern monetary system is controlled by the state and yet linked to private deposit banking. Monetary value held in deposits with commercial banks is known as ‘commercial bank money’ (CoBM).

Current Scholarship
Jim Crow Credit

Mehrsa Baradaran, University of California Irvine

The New Deal created a separate and unequal credit market—high-interest, non-bank, installment lenders in black ghettos

Current Scholarship
Bad Money

Author: Dan Awrey

Money is, always and everywhere, a legal phenomenon. In the United States, the vast majority of the money supply consists of monetary liabilities

Current Scholarship
Money Creation in Fiat and Digital Currency Systems

Authors: Marco Gross and Christoph Siebenbrunner

To support the understanding that banks’ debt issuance means money creation, while centralized nonbank financial institutions’ and decentralized bond market intermediary lending does not, the paper aims to convey two related points

Current Scholarship
Bagehot’s Giant Bubble Failure

Author: Andrew Odlyzko

Walter Bagehot is remembered today primarily as a proponent of the doctrine of lender of last resort, in which central banks pump money into the economy to ameliorate the damage from a financial crisis.

Current Scholarship
Banks are not intermediaries of loanable funds – facts, theory and evidence

Authors: Zoltan Jakab and Michael Kumhof

In the loanable funds model, banks are modelled as resource-trading intermediaries that receive deposits of physical resources from savers before lending them to borrowers. In the financing model, banks are modelled as financial intermediaries whose loans are funded by ex-nihilo creation of ledger-entry deposits that facilitate payments among nonbanks. The financing model predicts larger and faster changes in bank lending and greater real effects of financial shocks.

Current Scholarship
State Building for a Free Market: The Great Depression and the Rise of Monetary Orthodoxy

Author: David M. P. Freund

The U.S. government transformed American finance between 1913 and 1935 by assuming extraordinary new powers over the banking sector and the money supply. And the government’s actions were reliably controversial. Beginning soon after the Federal Reserve began operations and lasting through the reforms that restructured the institution during the New Deal, critics warned that federal overreach in financial markets posed an existential threat to the free-enterprise system.

Current Scholarship
Money and modernization in early modern England

Author: Nuno Palma

Classic accounts of the English industrial revolution present a long period of stagnation followed by a fast take-off. However, recent findings of slow but steady per capita economic growth suggest that this is a historically inaccurate portrait of early modern England. This growth pattern was in part driven by specialization and structural change accompanied by an increase in market participation at both the intensive and extensive levels. These, I argue, were supported by the gradual increase in money supply made possible by the importation of precious metals from America. They enabled a substantial increase in the monetization and liquidity levels of the economy, hence decreasing transaction costs, increasing market thickness, changing the relative incentive for participating in the market and allowing agglomeration economies to arise. By making trade with Asia possible, precious metals also induced demand for new desirable goods, which in turn encouraged market participation. Finally, the increased monetization and market participation made tax collection easier. This helped the government to build up fiscal capacity and as a consequence to provide for public goods. The structural change and increased market participation that ensued paved the way for modernization.

Current Scholarship
Are Bank Fiduciaries Special?

Author: Robert Hockett

A growing body of post-crisis legal and economic literature suggests that future financial crises might be averted by tinkering with the internal governance structures of banks and other financial institutions. In particular, contributors to this literature propose tightening the fiduciary duties under which officers and directors of the relevant financial institutions labor. I argue in this symposium article that such proposals are doomed to failure under all circumstances save one - namely, that under which the relevant financial institutions are in whole or in part treated as publicly owned. The argument proceeds in two parts. I first show that the financial dysfunctions that culminate in financial crises are not primarily the products of defects in individual rationality or morality, ubiquitous as such defects of course always are. Rather, I argue, fragility in the financial markets stems from what I elsewhere dub recursive collective action problems, pursuant to which multiple acts of individual rationality aggregate into instances of collective calamity. This form of vulnerability is endemic to banking and financial markets. I next show that the best understanding of fiduciary obligation is that pursuant to which she who is subject to the obligation minimizes the 'space,' or separateness, that subsists between her and the beneficiary of her obligation.

Current Scholarship
John Law’s Capitalist Violence

Author: Joan DeJean

The year 2019 marks a milestone in the history of finance and of capitalism: the three hundredth anniversary of John Law's spectacular take-over of France's economy. Between December 1718 and December 1719, Law established the first national bank in French history, the Banque Royale or Royal Bank, as well as Paris' original stock exchange, on the rue Quincampoix. At the same time, Philippe d'Orléans, the Regent governing France during Louis XV's minority, fused several older trading companies in order to create a giant conglomerate known as the Indies Company that enjoyed an absolute monopoly over the country's overseas trade. The Regent gave Law control first over the newly powerful Indies Company, then over the Royal Mint, and in the end over the regulation of all government finance and expenditure. Finally, also in 1719, Law introduced the French to two financial instruments with which they had had no prior experience: paper money and publicly traded stock in the form of shares in the new Indies Company. One man controlled the most important economy in Europe.

Current Scholarship
Money and the ‘Level Playing Field’: The Epistemic Problem of European Financial Market Integration

Author: Troels Krarup

Financial market integration processes in the European Union (EU) are characterised by an epistemic problem of economic theory. This problem encompasses what ‘the market’ is, how it is to be ‘integrated’, and the nature and role of ‘money’ as infrastructure of the fully integrated market. The EU’s legal framework has imported this epistemic problem along with the competitive conception of the market as described in economic theory – as a ‘level playing field’ for private exchange, under free, fair and ideally unrestrained competition. It manifests itself in European financial market integration processes, as exemplified in the article, via two otherwise disconnected areas of European Central Bank (ECB) activity: (a) the provision of central bank credit for the purpose of financial transaction settlement in the Eurozone; and (b) the conduct of ordinary monetary policy in the Eurozone. While the problem can be stabilised through legal, technical and other means, it remains latent, and may manifest itself again in unexpected ways, as happened in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Thus, contrary to ideologies that are widely understood as more or less coherent systems of doctrines, epistemic problems are characterised by specific tensions, contradictions and conceptual uncertainties.

Current Scholarship
The (impossible) repo trinity: the political economy of repo markets

Author: Daniela Gabor
In its capacity as debt issuer, the state has played a growing role in financial life over the last 30 years. To examine this role and connect it to shadow banking, the paper develops the concept of the ‘repo trinity’, which captures a set of policy objectives that central banks outlined after the 1998 Russian crisis, the first systemic crisis of collateral-based finance. The repo trinity connected financial stability with liquid government bond markets and free repo markets. It further reinforced the dominance of the US government bond market as institutional template for states adjusting to a world of independent central banks, market-based financing and global competition for liquidity. Central banks and the Financial Stability Board recognized the impossible nature of the trinity after 2008, attributing cyclical leverage (financial instability) and elusive liquidity in collateral markets to deregulated repo markets, markets systemic to shadow banking. The new approach triggered radical changes in crisis central banking but has not powered significant regulatory interventions in the absence of an alternative mode of organizing government bond markets.

Daniela Gabor (2016) The (impossible) repo trinity: the political economy of repo markets, Review of International Political Economy, 23:6, 967-1000

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