CYRIL MONNET AND DANIEL R. SANCHES
Abstract: We show that a competitive banking system is inconsistent with an optimum quantity of private money. Because bankers cannot commit to their promises and the composition of their assets is not publicly observable, a positive franchise value is required to induce the full convertibility of bank liabilities. Under perfect competition, a positive franchise value can be obtained only if the return on bank liabilities is sufficiently low, which imposes a cost on those who hold these liabilities for transaction purposes. If the banking system is monopolistic, then an efficient allocation is incentive feasible. In this case, the members of the banking system obtain a higher return on assets, making it feasible to pay a sufficiently high return on bank liabilities. Finally, we argue that the regulation of the banking system is required to obtain efficiency.