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Digital Cash: Another Dangerous New Idea in Monetary Policy

•, By Kristoffer Mousten Hansen

 In the latest issue of the Cato Journal, the distinguished economic historian Michael Bordo and his co-author Andrew Levin lament the failure of the experiments in unconventional monetary policies of the last decade to stimulate aggregate demand. While they detail these failures at length, they do not draw the conclusion that there is something fundamentally wrong with the dominant approach to monetary policy – rather, the problem is that the effective lower bound (ELB) on nominal interest rates has prevented central banks from providing "sufficient" monetary stimulus. After all, cash is interest-free, so zero or negative interest rates cannot be imposed on the economy, as people will simply shift their savings from bank accounts into cash holdings.

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