Operating overheads are widespread and lead to concentrated bursts of activity. To transfer resources between active and idle spells, agents demand financial assets. Futures contracts and lotteries are unsuitable, as they have substantial overheads of their own. We show that money – under efficient monetary policy – is a liquid asset that leads to efficient allocations. Under all other policies, agents follow inefficient “money cycle” patterns of saving, activity, and inactivity. Agents spend their money too quickly – a “hot potato effect of inflation”. We show that inflation can stimulate inefficiently high aggregate output.
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