Credit Cards and Inflation

51 Pages Posted: 18 Jun 2009

See all articles by John Geanakoplos

John Geanakoplos

Yale University; Santa Fe Institute

Pradeep K. Dubey

SUNY Stony Brook - Center for Game Theory in Economics

Date Written: June 18, 2009


The introduction and widespread use of credit cards increases trading efficiency but, by also increasing the velocity of money, it causes inflation, in the absence of monetary intervention. If the monetary authority attempts to restore pre-credit card price levels by reducing the money supply, it might have to sacrifice the efficiency gains. When there is default on credit cards, there is even more inflation, and less efficiency gains. The monetary authority might then have to accept less than pre-credit card efficiency in order to restore pre-credit card price levels, or else it will have to accept inflation if it is unwilling to cut efficiency below pre-credit card levels. This could be a source of stagflation.

Keywords: Credit cards, Outside money, Inside money, Central bank, Inflation, Stagflation

JEL Classification: D50, D51, D53, D61, E40, E50, E51, E52, E58

Suggested Citation

Geanakoplos, John D and Dubey, Pradeep K., Credit Cards and Inflation (June 18, 2009). Cowles Foundation Discussion Paper No. 1709, Available at SSRN: or

John D Geanakoplos (Contact Author)

Yale University ( email )

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Santa Fe Institute ( email )

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Pradeep K. Dubey

SUNY Stony Brook - Center for Game Theory in Economics ( email )

Stony Brook, NY 11794
United States
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631-632-7516 (Fax)

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