Thursday, March 4, 2010


Money Money Money!


-Classical economists arbitrarily divided economies into the real sector, and the monetary sector.
-The REAL SECTOR describes the allocation of resources to produce different goods
-Resource allocation (use of factors) is dependent on relative prices
-Relative prices affect output (so if wood is cheaper than brick, an economy will produce more wood houses than brick houses

-The MONETARY SECTOR encompasses changes in the money supply (how much money is circulating in an economy)
-Most economists believe that a change in the money supply would just change the absolute price level in the long run
-If relative prices do not change (ie: the price of both wood and brick rises proportionately), then this will not change the allocation resources
-This shows the NEUTRALITY OF MONEY (A change in the money supply can change the macroeconomic price level, but it will not change relative prices, or GDP)
-The amount of money circulating in an economy affects ABSOLUTE prices, but not relative prices (so while the price of wood will go up, so will the price of bricks, and consequently, the price of houses)

-In modern economic theories, money supply has no long run effect on GDP (it only affects the price level)
-In the short run, however, money supply can affect both price level and GDP

This is the exchange identity: MV = PY : The velocity of money (the size of the money supply multiplied by the amount of times money is used in an economy) is equal to the general price level multiplied by real output. In other words, what you give up (the amount of many people spend to get things) is equal to what you get (the value of the real goods produced by an economy)


1: Money is a medium of exchange
-Barter requires the "double coincidence of wants" (you have to want what I have, and I have to want what you have)
-Because such situations rarely occur, money is an excellent "in-between" medium-of-exchange for facilitating trade

There are stipulations, however!
1: Money only works as a medium of exchange if people expect that others will accept their money as a legitimate form of payment
2: Money should have a generally high value relative to its weight (or else it will be awkward to exchange: can you imagine if sand or dirt were money, for instance!)
3: It must be divisible (you can divide a dollar in half. You cannot divide a live cow in half)
4: It must not be counterfeit-able (which explains the elaborate construction of dollar-bills)

2: Money is a method of storing wealth
-Earning and spending are not synchronized (ie: you may work on a Monday, but not wish to buy anything until a Saturday)
-Money has stable value which does not diminish over time
-It is a method of deferred payment (this is sometimes cited as the 4th role of money)

3: Money is a unit of account, or financial measurement
-We use money as a unit of measurement: we measure different transactions using dollars, thus it is a sort of accounting unit which facilitates accounting.

NOTE* Demand deposits (aka: deposits into an easily-accessible checking account) count as money, as they satisfy all of these conditions!


1: Commodity Money
-Money was originally precious metals, such as gold
-These were generally recognized as valuable and accepted as payment in most places- they did not wear away or lose value over time, and they had a stable value

-Originally, these metals were carried in bulk, so they would have to be weighed, and then stamped by a ruler, guaranteeing the weight of "face value"
-Clipping and shaving
-debasement led to inflation and Quantity Theory of Money

Gresham's Law:
-Bad money forces good money out of the system
-People will hang on to money with high intrinsic value (because it is a very good method for storing wealth)

2: Token Money
-To overcome the problems associated with commodity money, would was deposited at a goldsmith's vault for safekeeping. The goldsmith would give owners a receipt, and this receipt of ownership of the gold was exchanged, rather than the gold itself. Eventually, banks replaced goldsmiths, performing a similar function
-Bank notes were paper money, which were FULLY BACKED by gold (ie: convertible on demand)
-A country whose money is fully backed by gold is on the gold standard

3: Fractionally Backed Money
-Banks discovered that while some customers withdraw gold, and some customers deposit gold, most of their customers are simply trading indirectly using bank notes
-Thus, banks could issue more notes convertible to gold than they actually have gold in their vaults as reserves, and then charge interest on this lent money to generate profits.
-The fraction of money held in reserve affects the money supply: the higher the amount held in reserve, the lower the money supply (because money held in banks cannot be in circulation)

4: Fiat Money: Legal Tender
-Here, the state promises that a certain form of paper or coin currency is legally money, so it becomes money
-Over time, central banks took control of the note issuance: while it was originally backed by gold, it is now only fractionally backed
-Ultimately most of the money we deal with on a day to day basis is not backed by gold at all (for instance, if we went to the neighborhood bank, deposited a cheque, and asked for gold, the teller would probably think we were very strange)
-Most countries abandoned the gold standard by 1940 (WW2)

Legal Tender: The law requires that this be accepted to repay debts- refusal discharges debt.
-Fiat money is backed by the productive capacity of an economy
-Fiat money is valuable because it can purchase goods and pay debts (today's money is fiat money)

5: Bank Deposits (Modern Money)
-Money held by the public in the form of deposits withdrawn on demand from banks (no notice is required)
-(Checks and debit cards, however, are not considered money)
-Bank deposits function on a fractional reserve system: banks create money by granting more loans than deposits to cover them (so if a run on the banks were to occur, the banks would not actually have enough money on hand to pay everyone back.


Canada (and many other countries) has a central bank which controls the money supply (the bank of Canada, which a run by a "governor" of the bank of Canada)
-Although the Bank is owned and operated by the government, it operates separately from the cabinet on a day to day basis: it is ultimately held responsible the cabinet, however.

In Canada, our current governor of the Bank of Canada is Mike Carney (Monetary Policy) and our current minister of finance is Jim Flaherty (Fiscal Policy)


1: It is the Bankers' Bank
-It is a lender of last resort to Chartered Banks (they can lend money from the BoC if they have to)
-Chartered Banks have their checking accounts at the Bank of Canada (reserves)
-As of 2002, about $1.2 billion was actually held in asset form at the bank of Canada

2: It is the government's bank
-The government has a chequing account at the BoC
-The government replenishes this account from larger accounts at Chartered Banks
-The BoC's monetary tool is "switching" the location of government accounts (between the BoC and Chartered Banks)

3: It regulates the money supply
-It prints money (this is only done as a reaction in Canada)

4: It regulates financial markets
-It prevents panic and bank failures
-Financial intermediaries (chartered and commercial banks) borrow short term and loan long term from the BoC, so increases in the bank rate squeezes them, and makes the "overnight market" less attractive: basically the higher the BoC sets the bank rate, the higher Chartered Banks will set their prime rate in order to continue to profit, and the more money they will hold in reserve to avoid getting "dinged" with interest for borrowing from the government should a customer seek to withdraw money
-The BoC is concerned about the exchange rate

So, the money supply involves the government, central banks, and chartered banks

The Canadian System

Canada- few banks with many branches (the banking sector is much more like an oligopoly)
USA- many banks with fewer branches (the banking sector is much more like monopolistic competition)
The systems are a bit different, but they essentially function the same way

COMMERCIAL BANKS: Includes chartered banks (formed prior to 1980), smaller banks trusts and credit unions, and foreign banks
A commercial bank is a profit-maximizing private corporation

Chartered Banks
-They hold deposits (trust companies also do this)
-They transfer deposits by cheque (the post office also does this)
-They make loans (credit unions also do this)
-They invest in government securities (insurance companies also do this)
-The government used to require the chartered banks to old money on reserve, but this is no longer required after reforms to the Bank Act (1980)

Interbank Cooperation
-Several Banks can make pooled loans to large companies (which they all benefit from due to the interest paid)
-Charted Banks must now compete against credit card companies
-Debit Cards
-Cheque clearing distinguishes chartered banks (they will turn cheques into money!)
-A clearing house settles interbanks debts: the net difference is accomplished by change in deposits at the bank of Canada

Chartered Banks are Profit-Maximizing Private Corporations:
-Their main asset is securities and loans
-Their main liability is deposits
-They make profits by borrowing money for less than they lend it for
-Competition is strong among different banks, which leads to competitive rates, which is good for consumers

The Big 5:
Toronto Dominion

Note* Our prof usually refers to chartered and commercial banks interchangeably

-Their purpose is to meet demands on deposits for chartered banks
-A RUN ON THE BANKS is when more depositors wish to withdraw more deposits than there are reserves


1: Reserves- the BoC can induce an INCREASE in reserves and avert a run on the banks by
-Loaning money directly to chartered banks
-Open Market Operations: buying securities from Chartered Banks

2: The Canadian Deposit Insurance Coporation
-A Federal Crown Corporation
-Insures deposits in any one account up to $100,000
-A problem is that this insurance is an incentive for banks to pursue riskier investment options "if this investment makes us money, the depositor wins- if it loses us money, then the taxpayer loses"

1: A Reserve Ratio is the chartered bank's fraction of deposit liability held in Cash of BoC deposits

Actual reserves = reserves the Chartered Bank actually holds
Target reserves = reserves a Chartered Bank wishes to hold
Excess reserves = reserves a Charted Bank holds above target
Secondary reserves = liquid assets convertible to cash (ie: T-bills, and government bonds)

The old bank act required banks to hold reserves for stability and confidence in the system, and to regulate the money supply

Competition from intermediaries and international banks who were not required to hold reserves lead to the elimination of required reserves. Now, the BoC uses the "overnight target rate" (how much interest it charges target rates on overnight loans) to regulate reserves and control the money supply

Presently, actual reserves are about 0.5% of total Chartered Banks liabilities (so we are using a fractional reserve system)


The reserve ratio is much much less than 1, at about 0.5% of total liabilities. Chartered banks only hold a small portion of deposits on reserve, and the BoC will bail them out if reserves are too low to meet demands on deposits.

The Cost for chartered Banks of borrowing from the BoC (the Bank rate, or the "overnight rate") determines how much reserves banks will hold. An increase in the cost of borrowing will induce the Chartered Banks to hold more reserves


Target reserve ratios are now determined independently by Chartered Banks, but there is incentive for them to still hold some reserves on hand, in order to avoid losing money: the Bank rate determines the opportunity cost of the risk of loaning out more than is on reserve for Chartered Banks.

The Creation of Money!

-There is a fixed reserve ratio
-There are no leakages or cash drains (this implies that a change in the money supply will manifest as a change in deposits)

2 Conditions are required for Banks to Make Money

1: The Public must be willing to use bank deposits as money

currency ratio = (public cash holdings/public bank deposits) or C/D

2: banks must be willing to use the fractional reserve system

reserve ratio = (reserve assets/deposit liabilities) or R/D

If the currency ratio is equal to 1, then there is no banking system
If the reserve ratio is equal to 1, there is no creation of money (there is just safety deposit boxes)

The Creation of Deposit Money

-cr = 0 (all of the cash is deposited in banks)
-rr = 0.20 (banks loan out 80% of their deposits)

The creation of money is possible due to the fractional reserve system

Changes in the money supply are equal to deposits or withdrawals / The reserve ratio

The currency ratio acts as a cash drain, or leakage. The uncertainty of the banking system increases the currency ratio and decreases the multiple expansion of the money supply (the more cash people hold onto instead of converting into a bank deposit, the smaller the change in the money supply due to banks loaning out money)- we saw this sort of thing happen in 2008 with the US financial meltdown- people lost faith in the banks and wanted their money back, so the money supply in the United States suddenly decreased.

On the other hand, deposits are very convenient (thanks to debit cards), which decreases the currency ratio

High Powered Money (H) is "cash": a combination of cash held on reserve by banks, and cash in circulation within the public.
H = rr * D + cr * D


Money Supply = M

M = D + C (bank deposits + money in circulation)

But, C = cr * D


M = (1 + cr)D

H = R + C

R = rr * D and C = cr * D

Therefore, H = (rr + cr)D

The money multiplier = Changes in M/Changes in H
= (1 + cr)/(rr + cr)

If the currency ratio = 0, then the money multiplier = 1/rr

If banks want to hold more money (the reserve ratio increases) or if the public wants to hold more cash (the currency ratio increases), then the money multiplier gets smaller: basically, the more loanable money which is held in banks, the higher the multiplier effect for money!


-A constant reserve ration of 0.20
-cr = 0

Person 1 deposits $100 in the bank.
The bank loans out $80 to person 2
Person 2 deposits $80 in another bank
The bank loans out $64 to person 3

With each transaction, the money supply increases by a decreasing amount (it works similarly to the expenditure multiplier effect)
So, let's do the math: 100 * the money multiplier = 100 *(1/0.20) = 500!

Monetary Base (H) = C + R - this is the amount of cash in an economy
Money Supply (M) = C + D - This is the amount of money in an economy (because not all money is cash!)

Variable reserve ratios make the the money multiplier equation complicated, but it still works

Cash Drains: Money creation is not automatic- it depends on public and bank behaviors
Public: Uncertainty causes the cr to increase, which makes it harder to create new money
Bank: Uncertainty causes the rr to increase, which makes it harder to create new money


Demand Deposit
-Can be withdrawn on demand (no notice required)
-Money can be transfered via cheque

Savings Deposit
-Notice of withdrawal required
-Non-transferable by cheque

Term Deposit
-Chequable savings accounts are now available, so the old distinction isn't as useful
-Today, "term deposit" distinguishes "notice accounts" from other accounts
-A deposit must be left in the account for a term: if withdrawn early, there is a reduced interest rate on that money (so the depositor gets less bang for their buck)

Definitions of the money supply
H = High Powered Money, or cash in public and cash in reserves
M1B = Cash in public + Demand Deposits (this emphasizes the exchange medium function of money)
M2 = M1B + savings deposits at chartered banks (emphasize money's wealth storage function)
M2+ = M2 + Deposits at other intermediaries, including credit unions, trust companies, insurance companies, and MMFs
M2++ = M2+ and all other mutual finds + Canada Savings Bonds

The BoC uses M2's to control inflation.

Near Money and Money Substitutes

There is debate over the definition of the money supply: if a medium of exchange is important, than M1B should define the money supply. If a storage of wealth is important, than deposits that pay higher returns but are not chequable (ie: the M2 series) should count as part of the money supply

Near Money is not a good medium of exchange, but it IS a good store of wealth (like Savings Bongs, Mutual Funds, and Money held in trust accounts)
Money Substitutes are good methods of exchange, but not good methods of storing wealth (like credit cards and debit cards)

Whew. That's all!

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