Money and Credit Redux

Randall Wright, Consultant

January 2016 | Econometrica, 84:1, p. 1-32. | With Chao Gu and Fabrizio Mattesini

We analyze money and credit as competing payment instruments in decentralized exchange. In natural environments, we show the economy does not need both: if credit is easy, money is irrelevant; if credit is tight, money is essential, but credit becomes irrelevant. Changes in credit conditions are neutral because real balances respond endogenously to keep total liquidity constant. This is true for both exogenous and endogenous debt limits and policy limits, secured and unsecured lending, and general pricing mechanisms. While we show how to overturn some of these results, the benchmark model suggests credit might matter less than people think.