© 1999-2003
Douglas A. Ruby
Revised: 06/23/2003

Money Demand

Financial Markets and Instruments

Macroeconomic Policy

Macroeconomic Principles

Macroeconomic Theory
The Money Supply Process
and Interest Rate Determination

Money can be narrowly defined as anything that may be used for purchasing goods and services or more broadly to include anything of value that may be used for trade.

Changes to the the money stock in an aggregate economy can occur for any of several reasons:

  • changes in behavior (i.e., a desire to hold more cash 'C' relative to demand deposits 'DD' or time deposits 'TD'),
  • changes in expectations (optimism or pessimism on behalf of the non-bank public or perhaps among bank managers),
  • or changes in monetary policy (reserve requirements and open market operations).

To best understand how these changes occur, it is useful to look at the basic components of the balance sheets of the non-bank public, the commercial banks, and the central bank (i.e., the Federal Reserve):

Non-Bank Public
Assets Liabilities
C = $2000
DD = $5000
TD = $0

L = $3000
Commercial Banking System
Assets Liabilities
rR = $500
xR = $500
L = $3000
S = $1000
DD = $5000
The Federal Reserve
Assets Liabilities

S = $2000
C = $2000
R = $1000

In the above example, C represents currency in circulation -- an asset of the non-bank public and a liability of the central bank. DD refers to demand deposits, TD to time deposits -- assets of the non-bank public and an liabilities of commercial banks. rR (required reserves), xR (excess reserves), and their sum R represent reserves and are non-income producing assets of the commercial banks and a liability of the central bank respectively. L refers to loans outstanding -- a liability of the non-bank public a and an income-producing asset for the commercial banks. Finally S is a reference to securities, specifically government securities (treasuries), that are liabilities of the Federal Government.

The M1 Money Multiplier
If we focus on M1 = C + DD, we find that this measure represents the main liquid financial assets of the non-bank public. In a similar manner we can define the monetary base B (also known as high-powered money), as the main liabilities of central bank. If we relate these two measures to one-another, we can define a link between the two, known as the Money Multiplier. This is accomplished as follows:

M1 = [1 + (C/DD)](DD)

B = R + C
    = [rd + (xR/DD) + (C/DD)](DD)
where rd represents the reserve requirement on demand deposits. Rearranging, we can write:
DD = B / [rd + (xR/DD) + (C/DD)]
M1 = {[1 + (C/DD)] / [rd + (xR/DD) + (C/DD)]}B
MS = M1 = mm (B)
mm = {[1 + (C/DD)] / [rd + (xR/DD) + (C/DD)]}

This money multiplier represents the ability of a fractional-reserve banking system to create money within the economy, that is, for each dollar of reserves; the money supply is some multiple of that value.

Increasing the reserve requirements (rd) will reduce the value of the money multiplier and thus when holding the monetary base constant, reduce the money supply. Increases to the excess reserve-demand deposit ratio 'xR/DD' (pessimism among bank management) will have a similar affect on the money supply. Finally, changes in the currency-demand deposit ratio 'C/DD' will directly affect the money multiplier -- holding more cash in relative terms will reduce the money supply.

Open market operations, one policy tool available to central banks, will affect the monetary base. If the central bank chooses to pursue an expansionary monetary policy, they would begin to buy government securities from the commercial banks. Payment for these securities would be in the form of reserves credited to the commercial bank's account with the central bank. Thus there is a change in the composition of assets within the commercial bank's balance sheet -- a change that lead to fewer income producing assets (securities) and more non-income producing assets (excess Reserves). Banks will attempt to convert some or all of these excess reserves to new loans by lowering the interest rate that they charge on these loans.

Non-Bank Public
Assets Liabilities
DD (2)

L (2)
Commercial Banking System
Assets Liabilities
xR (1), (2)
L (2)
S (1)
DD (2)
The Federal Reserve
Assets Liabilities

S (1)
R (1)

As the non-bank public takes out these new loans, they convert these funds into new deposits at the same or other banks in the commercial banking system. Demand deposits expand as does the money supply. Thus this particular type of open market operations (buying securities) leads to more reserves, expansion in the money supply and lower interest rates.

Contractionary monetary policy would do just the opposite. The central bank would sell government securities to the commercial banks, removing reserves from the system, causing these banks to curtail their loan activity and raising the interest rates charged on loans.

You can experiment with the money multiplier process using the interactive table below:

Interactive Table -- The Money Multiplier
1) You may adjust the value for the Initial Change in Reserves (change in base money),
Reserve-Demand Deposit Ratio (R/DD), or Currency-Demand Deposit Ratio (C/DD) by clicking on the boldfaced numbers in the appropriate number box. Just click on any of these three numbers and enter a new value.
2) Note the following:
  • $-50,000.00 < Initial Amount < $50,000.00,
  • 0.010 < R/DD < 1.00
  • 0.010 < C/DD < 1.00
3) Press the Money Creation button to display the process.
4) Press Reset to start over.

The Federal Reserve System and Central Banking
The Federal Reserve System, the Central Bank of the United States, was created by an act of Congress in 1913. Originally, the 'Fed' was designed as a decentralized Central Bank with 12 District banks located throughout the U.S. and the Board of Governors 'BOG' located in Washington D.C. However, over time the development and direction of monetary policy has migrated from these District banks to the BOG.

Also by design, the Fed is both a quasi-public / quasi-private institution. Public in that the 7 members of the BOG are appointed by the President to staggered single 14 year terms and confirmed by Congress. Private in that the assets of the Fed are privately owned through stock owned by commercial banks as ownership shared in their local District bank.

The Fed is a system composed of roughly 3000 member commercial banks (nationally chartered banks must be a member of the Federal Reserve System - State chartered banks have the option of joining), 12 District Banks and 25 Branch District Banks, the seven-member Board of Governors and a twelve member (the 7 Governors, 4 District Bank presidents serving on a rotating basis, and the President of the N.Y. District Bank) Federal Open Market Committee - the FOMC. It is the FOMC that is responsible for providing directives guiding Open Market Operations.

figure 1, The Federal Reserve System

The Fed has four main responsibilities:

  • To act as lender of last resort or the banker's bank. In this role, the Fed is responsible for maintaining liquidity and solvency of the private commercial banking system.
  • To maintain the purchasing power of the currency; that is, to promote price stability
  • To promote stable economic growth by providing for an elastic currency to meet the needs of a dynamic market economy.
  • To manage the international value of the Dollar on foreign exchange markets.
Sometimes these responsibilities are complementary but more often one goal is in conflict with another. Inflation fighting can sometimes come at the expense of economic growth. Injecting liquidity into the banking system in times of crisis can also lead to future inflationary pressure in the economy. The above responsibilities can often be thought of as primary goals. The Fed will work to achieve certain goals by influencing different intermediate targets. These targets include: interest rates (specifically the Federal Funds rate), Money supply targets (M1 or M2), or a particular exchange rate. These targets are affected through three tools of monetary policy.
  • Open Market Operations -- the buying and selling of Government Securities in the open market thus injecting or removing liquidity from the banking system. These operations will have direct effect on the Monetary Base,
  • Changes to Reserve Requirements (thus changing the value of the Money Multiplier), or
  • Changes to the Discount Rate.

Open market operations as described above is to most common tool used in the implementation of monetary policy. For example, if the goal is to fight inflation, the Fed will set a target of a higher Federal Funds rate (the directive will be to buy and, more likely, sell securities on the open market to achieve this target rate). A higher Federal Funds rate will be an indication of less liquidity in the banking system and thus higher interest rates charged by these banks to their customers. With higher borrowing rates, certain investment projects will become less profitable and thus investment spending will decline. With the reduction in this investment spending, aggregate expenditure (Nominal GDP) should also decline. Less spending in the demand-side of the economy should eliminate any upward pressure on prices that may exist.

Equilibrium in Financial Markets
The functional form for money demand (as derived from the Inventory Theoretic Model) is:
Md = f[Y , i ]
            (+)  (-)
In equilibrium Md = Ms or:
Md = M/P
where M/P represents the purchasing power of available money balances (the money supply). Holding the price level constant (no supply-side constraints), changes in purchasing power will only result via changes in the money supply. Additionally, if the price level is unchanging then nominal measures of income are the same as real income measures.

figure 2, An increase in the Money Supply

An increase in the Money Supply (Real money balances) shifts the MS function to the right. This is often a deliberate policy action (via open-market operations) intended to stimulate aggregate demand. The result is an Excess Supply of Money (specifically excess reserves and thus loanable reserves) such that interest rates charged to their borrowing customers and on overnight loans to other commercial banks (the Federal Funds Rate) will fall. This is shown in figure 2 to the right

figure 3, An increase in Income 'Y'

An increase in Income 'Y' leads to an outward shift in Money Demand 'Md (due the the need to support a greater level of transactions). This shift leads to an Excess Demand for Money where individuals will begin to make portfolio adjustments (selling bonds and securities thus Pbonds decline, Ψbonds increase) putting upward pressure on the whole structure of nominal interest rates. This is shown in figure 3 to the left.

Interest rates thus act as a barometer of changing expectations, reaction to new information about economic events and of changes in monetary policy In addition interest rates provide the linkage between financial markets and the real economy. Changes in the money supply, the buying and selling of financial assets in secondary markets, or the issue and acquisition of financial assets in primary markets all affect returns to lenders and more importantly the cost of borrowing. It is these borrowing costs that affect investment spending decisions and thus real economic activity.

Concepts for Review:
  • Central Bank (The Federal Reserve System)
  • Contractionary Monetary Policy
  • Currency-Demand Deposit Ratio
  • Demand Deposits
  • Excess Reserves
  • Expansionary Monetary Policy
  • Federal Reserve System
  • M1
  • M2
  • Monetary Base
  • Money Multiplier
  • Open Market Operations
  • Required Reserves
  • Reserve Requirement
  • Reserves
  • Time Deposits