Essays on money, inflation and asset prices



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This dissertation explores different aspects of the interaction between money and asset prices. The first chapter investigates how a firm’s financing affects its decision to update prices: does linking interest rates to inflation alter the firm’s optimal price updating strategy? Building on the state dependent pricing models of Willis (2000) and the price indexing literature of Azariadis and Cooper (1985) and Freeman and Tabellini (1998), this model investigates the financing and price updating decisions of a representative firm facing state-dependent pricing and a cash-in-advance constraint. The model shows the circumstances under which a firm’s financing decision affects its price updating decision, and how the likelihood of changing prices affects the amount borrowed. It also illustrates how the use of nominal (as opposed to inflation-linked) interest rates leads to a lower frequency of price updating and higher profits overall for a firm facing menu costs and sticky prices. The second chapter extends the bank run literature to present a theoretical mechanism that explains how money supply can affect asset prices and asset price volatility. In a two period asset allocation model, agents faced with uncertainty cannot perfectly allocate assets ex-ante. After income shocks are revealed, they will be willing to pay a premium over the future fundamental value for an asset in order to consume in the current period. The size of this premium is directly affected by the supply of money relative to the asset. This paper explores the relationship between economy-wide monetary liquidity on the mean and variance of equity returns and in relation to market liquidity. At an index level, I test the impact of money-based liquidity measures against existing measures of market liquidity. I proceed to do a stock level analysis of liquidity following Pastor and Stambaugh (2003). The results indicated that measures of aggregate money supply are able to match several of the observed relationships in stock return data much better than market liquidity. At an individual stock level, monetary liquidity is a priced factor for individual stocks. Taken together, these papers support the idea that changes in the money supply have consequences for the real economy.