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A model of banknote discounts

Laurence Ales, Francesca Carapella (), Pricila Maziero and Warren Weber

No 641, Working Papers from Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

Abstract: Prior to 1863, state-chartered banks in the United States issued notes - dollar-denominated promises to pay specie to the bearer on demand. Although these notes circulated at par locally, they usually were quoted at a discount outside the local area. These discounts varied by both the location of the bank and the location where the discount was being quoted. Further, these discounts were asymmetric across locations, meaning that the discounts quoted in location A on the notes of banks in location B generally differed from the discounts quoted in location B on the notes of banks in location A. Also, discounts generally increased when banks suspended payments on their notes. In this paper we construct a random matching model to qualitatively match these facts about banknote discounts. To attempt to account for locational differences, the model has agents that come from two distinct locations. Each location also has bankers that can issue notes. Banknotes are accepted in exchange because banks are required to produce when a banknote is presented for redemption and their past actions are public information. Overall, the model delivers predictions consistent with the behavior of discounts.

Keywords: Banks and banking; Bank notes (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2006
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-fmk
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Journal Article: A model of banknote discounts (2008) Downloads
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