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Intermediaries and Payments Instruments

We Study an economy in which intermediaries have incentives to issue circulating liabilities as part of an equilibrium. We show that, with arbitrarily small transactions costs, only the liabilities of intermediaries will circulate, and not those of other private sector agents. Therefore, our model connects intermediation activity with the issuance of payments media, a connection that has not been made in earlier literature. We also describe conditions under which equilibrium outcomes may be volatile when private liabilities circulate. Finally, we use our model to suggest a resolution of the "banknote underissue puzzle" of Cagan (1993).

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