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Information Disclosure and Exchange Media

When commitment is lacking, intertemporal trade is facilitated with the use of exchange media—interpreted broadly to include monetary and collateral assets. We study the properties of a model commonly used to motivate monetary exchange, extended to include a physical asset whose expected short-run return is subject to a news shock, but whose expected long-run return is stable. The nondisclosure of news enhances the asset’s property as an exchange medium, and generally improves social welfare. When a nondisclosure policy is infeasible, the framework admits a role for government debt, including fiat money. When lump-sum taxation is not permitted, fiat money may still improve welfare—but only if its circulation is supported by a cash-in-advance constraint.

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