Martin Shubik

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Discussion Paper

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Among the major properties of a money are that it can serve as (1) a numeraire, (2) a means of exchange, (3) a store of value, and (4) a source of liquidity. Among the lesser properties are that it should be easy to transport and identify, it should be durable, easily divisible, hard to counterfeit and easy to store. A possibly desirable property is that it is an anonymous “bearer instrument,” but the price of anonymity is that it is hard to recover if it is stolen. A personal check which is bank money can be stopped and is more personal than a $100 bill. The properties of a money are systemic and strategic and are most naturally formalized by means of strategic market games. Here we concentrate on the four major properties noted above and include comments on the cost of liquidity and the role of various assets as near monies.

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