The views expressed in the papers on this site are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the Deutsche Bundesbank or the Eurosystem.
To fill in the gap of understanding how cryptocurrencies differ from existing electronic payment means from the consumers’ perspective and what these differences imply, this paper generalizes the canonical search-theoretic model to capture two previously overlooked features of cryptocurrencies: 1) anonymity-seeking individuals prefer cryptocurrencies for online payments; and 2) they purchase their cryptocurrencies secondhand to avoid revealing their identities. This generalization allows demand for cryptocurrencies to be governed by not only transaction motives but also by speculation, and is capable of explaining the observed negative correlation between Bitcoin velocity and opportunity cost, contrary to the positive correlation observed in conventional currencies. I conduct a counterfactual exercise to illustrate the impact of anonymity-motivated secondary demand on cryptocurrency price, and discuss the implications for monetary policy and national security risk. Besides the application in cryptocurrencies, my model is suitable for studying the informal economy in general.
Self-fulfilling Prophecies in Directed Technical Change [with Sjak Smulders]
Directed technical change (DTC) may stimulate clean innovations and phase out polluting technologies, thus contributing to climate change policy. In the existing literature on DTC, market size and initial conditions determine whether the direction of technical change is clean or dirty and path dependency arises (see for example Acemoglu et al., 2012). However, as the literature on coordination failures has pointed out in a different context, expectations play an important role in forward-looking decision makings (see for example Krugman, 1991; Matsuyama, 1991). This paper shows how multiple equilibria easily arises in a standard workhorse model of DTC when innovators are forward-looking. In our model there is a range of initial conditions from which both an equilibrium with clean innovation and an equilibrium with dirty innovation can emerge. Accordingly, the transition to an economy dominated by green technologies is a self-fulfilling prophecy, but the transition to an economy that is locked in brown technologies is a self-fulfilling prophecy as well. The range for which this multiplicity arises is shown to depend on the degree of substitutability of the final goods from the two sectors. We also investigate the implications of the existence of the overlap for environmental policies.
Closing the Loop in a Circular Economy: Saving Resources or Suffocating Innovations? [with Sjak Smulders]
Policymakers around the world are increasingly embracing the idea of a “circular economy” (CE), an economy built on the principle of re-use of materials and produced goods through recycling, refurbishing, and extended product life. By using less new materials per unit of value added, a CE is considered good for both the environment and the economy. Yet closing the material loop also changes the structure of the economy and the incentives for labor- and resource-productivity enhancing innovations. The overall economic impact is thus not so clear. This paper develops a two-sector endogenous growth model with Schumpeterian innovation, in which the primary sector continuously develops new products and uses primary resources in production, while the secondary sector refurbishes retired products for re-use. We show that increased refurbishing increases short-run consumption,but reduces resource prices (relative to wages) and crowds out the incentives for developing new, possibly less resource-intensive products. If innovations are strongly resource-saving, raising the refurbishing rate leads to a net economic loss.