Skip to main content

A Theory of Money and Banking


We construct a simple environment that combines a limited communication friction and a limited information friction in order to generate a role for money and intermediation. We ask whether there is any reason to expect the emergence of a banking sector (i.e., institutions that combine the business of money creation with the business of intermediation). In our model the unique equilibrium is characterized, in part, by the existence of an agent that: (1) creates money (a debt instrument that circulates as a means of payment); (2) lends it out (swapping it for less liquid forms of debt); (3) is responsible for monitoring those agents in control of the capital backing the illiquid debt; and (4) collects on money loans as they come due. Furthermore, the bank money in our model is a debt instrument that embeds within it important stipulations that are found in actual private money instruments. Thus, our model goes some way in addressing the questions of why private money takes the form that it does, as well as why private money is typically supplied by banks.

Keywords: money, banking, limited communication, limited information

JEL Codes: E40, G21, D82


Suggested citation: Andolfatto, David, and Ed Nosal, 2003. "A Theory of Money and Banking,” Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Working Paper, no. 03-10.

Upcoming EventsSEE ALL

  • 09.15.22

    FedUniversity: Internships at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

    Join us on September 15, noon to 1:00pm, to learn about the Cleveland Fed’s annual internship program.

  • 09.29.22

    Inflation: Drivers and Dynamics 2022

    Inflation: Drivers and Dynamics 2022, co-sponsored by the Center for Inflation Research and the European Central Bank will take place on September 29-30, 2022 in Cleveland, OH.

  • 10.06.22

    Conference on Real-Time Data Analysis, Methods, and Applications

    The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland is sponsoring the Annual Conference on Real-Time Data Analysis, Methods, and Applications in Macroeconomics and Finance to be held in Cleveland, Ohio, at the Cleveland Reserve Bank on Thursday and Friday, October 6–7, 2022.

  • 11.07.22

    Women in Economics Symposium

    Join the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland at the Women in Economics Symposium, which aims to encourage women to pursue a career in economics by discussing the successful career paths of diverse economics professionals and raising awareness of diversity and inclusion in the profession.

  • 11.17.22

    2022 Financial Stability Conference: Frontier Risks, a New Normal, and Policy Challenges

    The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland and the Office of Financial Research will host their 10th annual financial stability conference on November 17–18, 2022. This year’s conference is titled Financial Stability: Frontier Risks, a New Normal, and Policy Challenges.