Friday, 24 February 2017

Author Archives William J. Luther

Cash and Crime

February 21, 2017

This is the third of several posts on Ken Rogoff’s The Curse of Cash. As summarized in an earlier post, Rogoff argues that banning physical cash has two major benefits: reducing crime and enabling effective monetary policy at the zero lower bound. In this post, I will address the first of these supposed benefits by […]

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How Much Cash is Used by Criminals and Tax Cheats?

February 7, 2017

This is the second of several posts on Ken Rogoff’s The Curse of Cash. In this post, I consider Rogoff’s estimate for the extent to which cash is used by criminals and tax cheats. If you have not yet read the book, I offer a brief summary in a previous post and I will consider […]

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The Curse of Cash

February 1, 2017

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have been reading Ken Rogoff’s new book, The Curse of Cash. Rogoff is a very smart guy who has been thinking about this proposal for roughly two decades. It deserves serious consideration and I intend to give it such. I have organized my comments as follows. In […]

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Bitcoin and the Bailout

January 25, 2017

A few years ago, Cyprus announced it would accept a €10 billion bailout package on condition of imposing a one-time levy on bank deposits. The initial agreement, which included a 6.75 percent levy on deposit balances less than 100,000 euros and a 9.9 percent levy on deposit balances in excess of 100,000 euros, was largely […]

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Rogoff on Seigniorage

January 11, 2017

In his book, The Curse of Cash, Harvard economist Ken Rogoff offers an excellent discussion of the modern seigniorage process: Instead of having the government print money and buy things directly, modern-day seigniorage is a three stage process. In stage one, the government spends beyond its means (its tax revenues) and issues interest-bearing debt to […]

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Disappointing estimates of the natural rate

October 5, 2016

At the recent Jackson Hole meetings, John Williams, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, argued there has been a  “significant decline in the natural rate of interest, or r* (r-star), over the past quarter-century to historically low levels.” Regular readers of this blog might recognize the view, as I have expressed it […]

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