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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Essays on the inventory theory of money demand Li, Chen

Abstract

The goal of this dissertation is to examine the theoretical and empirical implications of the inventory theoretic approach to the demand for money. Chapter 1 reviews the existing inventory theoretic frameworks and empirical money demand literature and provides an overview of this thesis. One of the main conclusions is that the elasticity results from the existing inventory theoretic models are not robust. Chapter 2 develops a partial equilibrium inventory theoretic model, in which a fixed cost is involved per cash transfer. The key feature is that a firm endogenously chooses the frequency of pay periods, which a household takes as given. When the firm must borrow working capital and pay wages by cheque, I show that both the firm and the household choose to transfer cash every payday only. The model keeps the basic result from the classical inventory theoretic approach that both the income and interest elasticity of money demand are 0.5. Chapter 3 extends the partial equilibrium model into a general equilibrium framework and shows that the partial equilibrium elasticity results no longer apply in the general equilibrium. First, the income elasticity is 1 in the general equilibrium. Second, the interest elasticity has two values depending on a threshold interest rate. When interest rates are below this threshold, the model is the Cash-In-Advance model with a constant income velocity of money and zero interest elasticity; otherwise the interest elasticity is close to 0.5 and the velocity fluctuates in response to variations in interest rates. Finally, the general equilibrium elasticity results are robust across alternative specifications of the agent's utility. Chapter 4 calibrates the general equilibrium model to the last 40 years of US data for M1. By constructing a residual measure of money transaction costs from the structural money demand function, I find that a structural break in the transaction costs occurred in 1981 might have been responsible for the instability of long-run money demand. The benefit of this approach is that it can explain this pattern of money demand without appealing to an exogenous structural break in the money demand function.

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