Category: Economics 10e: Ch 18

In the early days of monetary policy, money supply targeting was a core element of anti-inflation policy. This approach was slowly dropped during the 1990s, but the underlying growth of the money supply has remained an important issue for policy makers and recent growth in the money supply has led to concern from some commentators that higher inflationary pressures may yet emerge.

King sees money growth as danger sign Times Online (3/5/07)
Bank’s inflation controllers leave the NICE decade to enter the not-so-nice Guardian (3/5/07)
Should letter-writing be a thing of the past? Times Online (30/4/07)


Questions
1. Explain the relationship between money supply growth and inflation.
2. What were the main factors that led to money supply targeting being dropped as a core element of monetary policy?
3. Assess the extent to which the MPC should pay more attention to the level of money supply growth.
4. Should letter-writing be a thing of the past?

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is to set up an investigation into the reality of ‘free banking’ to establish whether greater transparency in charging would benefit consumers. The articles linked to below consider the scope of this investigation and look at what some consider the ‘myth’ of free banking.

OFT probe into bank charges could mean end of ‘free banking’ The Scotsman (27/4/07)
‘Free’ banking could end as overdraft charges challenged Guardian (27/4/07)
Watchdog probes cost of banking BBC News Online (27/4/07)
Charges inquiry may spell end of free banking Telegraph (28/4/07)
OFT considers ending ‘free’ banking Times Online (27/4/07)
Q&A: Banking investigation and you BBC News Online (26/4/07)
Calling banks’ bluff BBC News Online – Robert Peston blog (26/4/07)
Free banking ‘myth’ to be probed Guardian (26/4/07)

Questions

1. Explain the reason why some people consider free banking to be a ‘myth’.
2. Examine the likely impact of the market structure in the market for banking on the level of competition.
3. Assess two policies that the government could implement to ensure that consumers get a fairer deal from their banks.

Hyperinflation in Zimbabwe is no longer news. Indeed the news below that inflation has risen to 2,200% may not even surprise us any more. However, inflation of this level should also mean similar changes in the exchange rate if purchasing power parity is to be maintained. The official exchange rate in Zimbabwe, however, hasn’t changed by anywhere near this amount and there are reports (See Scotsman article below) that the Governor of the Central Bank has even tried to portray a recent devaluation as not really a devaluation at all!

Our mutual friend The Economist (subscription) (12/4/07)
Zimbabwe inflation reaches 2,200% BBC News Online (26/4/07)
Zimbabwe’s inflation rate surges to 231,000,000% Guardian (9/10/08)
A month ago, the hospitals were overflowing. Now they lie empty Guardian (6/12/08)
Hyperinflation in Zimbabwe Wikipedia
(27/4/07)
How Zimbabwe lost control of inflation Newzimbabwe.com (11/12/09)

Questions

1. Explain, using diagrams as appropriate, how hyperinflation will affect the exchange rate in Zimbabwe.
2. Discuss the likely economic impact of not devaluing the official exchange rate in line with the level of inflation in Zimbabwe.
3. Assess possible exchange rate policies that would help reduce the level of hyperinflation in Zimbabwe.

The death of cash has long been forecast, but not yet happened, but is it the case that the next generation technology may finally sound the death knell? With the advent of prepaid cards (e.g. Oyster card in London), payment by mobiles and the continuing growth of ‘plastic’, it may be that cash is on an inexorable downward slide. The articles below look at a range of issues around the possible death of cash (and the introduction of the £20 note with Adam Smith on it).

Why I hate sticky electrons BBC News Online – Robert Peston Blog (19/2/07)
Cash used to be king, but now we pay for paying up Telegraph (9/2/07)
March launch for Smith £20 note BBC News Online (21/2/07)
A cash call The Economist (subscription) (15/2/07)

Questions

1. Explain the main functions that any form of money has to fulfil.
2. Assess the extent to which smartcards (like the Oyster card) can fulfil these functions of money.
3. Discuss the implications for the level of consumer spending of increased use of cash substitutes.