Econ Point of View

Understanding the world through an economic point of view

Brian C. Albrecht

2 minutes read

I’m a bit behind on this blog, but I have been writing for the past year or so at the American Institute for Economic Research. I don’t know why the let ME write, considering the other people who are contributing, but I’ve enjoyed the opportunity. You can find my articles here.

I mostly summarize recent NBER working papers, such as

> > When direct records do not exist, researchers must rely on fragmented information and reconstruct the numbers from a variety of sources. A recent [NBER working paper](http://www.nber.org/papers/w25260) by Cory Cutsail and Farley Grubb reconstructs such numbers for North Carolina’s paper-money regime from the time of its first paper money, emitted from 1712 to 1774. > > > > Cutsail and Grubb compiled a yearly record of newly printed bills, the value of those bills relative to the British pound sterling, the total bills in circulation, and more. By using a combination of tax records, personal letters, and government letters, Cutsail and Grubb put together the most complete data set so far assembled. While the main contribution of Cutsail and Grubb’s paper is to reconstruct the monetary data, which is interesting in its own right, the paper also explains the structure of the paper-money regime in North Carolina. > >

Otherwise, I go off on obscure things that interest me, like how we model money:

Modeling money as a medium of exchange is almost as old, going back at least to Joe Ostroy’s [1973 paper](https://www.jstor.org/stable/1808851?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents)_._ It has seen a resurgence in the last 30 years through the monetary search literature started by [Kiyotaki and Wright](https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/261634). All such models are fundamentally about a lack of a double coincidence of wants: I want your good, but you do not want mine. Instead of being stuck without the ability to trade, you accept an alternative good — money — that you will use as a medium of exchange in a future trade. While economic theorists have developed many models for money as a store of value or medium of exchange, explaining money’s role as a unit of account remains elusive. Recent work, such as a [paper](https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.3982/ECTA11963) in Econometrica by Matthias Doepke and Martin Schneider, is correcting that shortcoming. But there is still much work to be done.

Anyways, I hope you subscribe to the AIER feed to keep up to date on what I’m writing and lots of other great economists.

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