Talk:Fractional-reserve banking

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Example of money multiplier effect confusing[edit]

The chart does not correspond to the numbers on the graph since the graph stops at K bank loans, which makes the entire example confusing. The chart should be altered to note somewhere that eventually the total deposit size reaches 500 in theory, rather than stopping at 457

Time to change which theory gets prominence?[edit]

Goodbye to e-x-t-e-n-d-e-d OR debate, soapbox and tail-chase. Any new thread should stick to RS content and weight
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

There are two competing theories about how the monetary system works presented on the main page. The "money multiplier" theory and the "endogenous money" theory. Up until now the "money multiplier" model has been presented prominently with the "endogenous money" scarcely mentioned or being presented as "alternative" or "heterodox". There have been many peer reviewed papers suggesting that the endogenous money theory is the one that actually corresponds to reality, but as some wiki editors pointed out (perhaps rightly) have been in rather small journals and have been paid little attention by the mainstream. However this all changed at the start of 2014 when McLeay et al published "Money creation in the modern economy" in the Bank of England Quarterly Bulletin, arguably the most authoritative journal on the workings of the monetary system that exists. This paper has since had 230 citations. Correct me if I'm wrong but I do not know of any academic papers that have challenged the paper and defended the money multiplier. At what point should wikipedia acknowledge that the endogenous money theory has become the new consensus? Now perhaps?

Indeed former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada, William R White seems to think the consensus changed already, when in 2002 he said: "Some decades ago, the academic literature would have emphasised the importance of the reserves supplied by the central bank to the banking system, and the implications (via the money multiplier) for the growth of money and credit. Today, it is more broadly understood that no industrial country conducts policy in this way under normal circumstances."

Oh, and before anyone reminds me that I have brought up this issue before, I should just point out that things have since changed. There has now been a high profile, much referenced, paper in the public domain for the best part of three years. This was not the case last time.

  • I noticed that Stanjourdan had already suggested (here) that Wikipedia should reflect the BoE paper, so I guess that's one vote in favour.
  • Its also quite clear that 192.89.123.43 is in favour due to their comments here.
  • I also found that Brandsby said here: "There is a growing body of evidence that is bringing the multiplier model of fractional reserve banking into disrepute, and yet it receives top billing on this page and on the fractional reserve banking page". Reissgo (talk) 10:17, 30 October 2016 (UTC)

Given their previous resistance to this change, I had better ping @Lawrencekhoo: and @SPECIFICO: for their comments. Reissgo (talk) 10:11, 31 October 2016 (UTC)

My opinion on this is, in the mainstream academic world, this is a non-issue. Everyone in this area (and many people not in the area) know how banks and money creation works. It was all laid out long ago by Tobin (1964).[1] Nothing has changed. Textbooks give a simplified version because that helps understanding. The more sophisticated understanding that people use in their research, doesn't really deviate that much from the textbook version. The only big difference is that central banks don't usually decide on how much high powered money to create, instead, they set interest rate targets, and then conduct OMOs (or directly lend money) in order to achieve their interest rate targets. This doesn't really change anything. There is no fundamental problem with the textbook view.
It's only the heteredox 'endogenous money' people who keep on harping on how 'textbooks are wrong' (implying that they are right), and that there is some deep understanding that everyone else is missing. Frankly, this seems like a WP:FRINGE argument to me. I suggest referring to the Handbook of Monetary Economics[1] as the best guide on what economists believe about this issue. Glancing through it, I find nothing there about how textbook treatments are wrong, and how money multiplier models of fractional reserve banking are in disrepute. Also, I note that the textbooks are edited regularly, and afaik, none have removed the money multiplier model from their pages. LK (talk) 11:46, 31 October 2016 (UTC)
with regard your assertion that "It's only the heteredox 'endogenous money' people who keep on harping on how 'textbooks are wrong'" and that there is not much wrong with the money multiplier - may I draw your attention to the following quotes all from the BoE papaer:
“This article explains how,rather than banks lending out deposits that are placed with them, the act of lending creates deposits — the reverse of the sequence typically described in textbooks.”
“While the money multiplier theory can be a useful way of introducing money and banking in economic textbooks, it is not an accurate description of how money is created in reality.”
“This description of the relationship between monetary policy and money differs from the description in many introductory textbooks, where central banks determine the quantity of broad money via a ‘money multiplier’ by actively varying the quantity of reserves.”
“And in contrast to descriptions found in some textbooks, the Bank of England does not directly control the quantity of either base or broad money.”
“banks do not act simply as intermediaries, lending out deposits that savers place with them, and nor do they ‘multiply up’ central bank money to create new loans and deposits”
In summary, it appears you want Wikipedia to prominently give information that contradicts the BoE paper. Is that your stance? Reissgo (talk) 14:35, 31 October 2016 (UTC)
Reissgo, this has been thoroughly litigated on a dozen WP pages. You need to stop trolling and disrupting these pages to promote your amateur "discoveries" that have been known to bankers, economists, and the general public of informed observers since biblical times. There's no need to repeat why you're wrong. You can re-read all the archives for that. If you continue, you will sooner or later be blocked. SPECIFICO talk 18:22, 31 October 2016 (UTC)
With regard the system being well known, I'd like to quote Milton Friedman, who said "It's a process that, even today, few bankers understand". With regard the issue being settled already, I should point out that what constitutes the consensus on an issue can obviously change over time. So the (ever changing) number of citations the most prominent papers have had and the number/prominence of any counter-papers (or absence thereof) are all critical in making a decision on this issue. Reissgo (talk) 08:38, 1 November 2016 (UTC)
@Lawrencekhoo: Thinking about your comments some more... I note you said: "Textbooks give a simplified version", which appears in agreement with Modern Money Mechanics, which states that it is "based on simplifying assumptions" and later "they do not really pay out loans from the money they receive as deposits"... maybe the main page should make this clear and have both theories. With the simplified one being clearly labelled as such. Reissgo (talk) 08:58, 1 November 2016 (UTC)

I have never seen a textbook that says that banks routinely make loans by actually physically paying out the money the banks have previously received as deposits. Perhaps editor Reissgo has cited sources that claim that numerous texts more or less do this. Reissgo some other editor may have provided such citations on this or other talk pages.

My college text was by Paul M. Horvitz, entitled Monetary Policy and the Financial System (Prentice-Hall, 3rd ed. 1974). I am at work and I don't have the Horvitz text with me right now, but I recall that the Horvitz text makes the same sort of comment that Friedman made about the fact that even many bankers do not fully understand how certain aspects of banking work. However, Horvitz certainly does not make the preposterous claim that banks in the United States routinely make loans by having customers leave the banks with bags of currency and coin. In all my years of training in college and law school, and in all my years as a bank auditor, I never once heard or read of any banker or academic making the claim that Reissgo seems to think people are making about the money multiplier effect.

The money multiplier is not a way to describe how banks routinely make loans. I would be astonished to find a reputable college text that claims that banks routinely make loans by having customers walk out of the bank lobby with huge bags of currency and coin.

Instead, the money multiplier is a description of a mathematical relationship regarding the effect of certain things that can happen in the banking system. Where an author uses the money multiplier to describe a particular effect, this does not mean that the author is trying to describe a routine, actual, physical process. A while back, I explained this with the analogy of driving a car. The way that banks routinely make loans (debit loan receivable, credit deposit liability) is analogous to the way a driver uses the accelerator pedal, brake, steering wheel, etc., to drive a car, while the money multiplier effect is analogous to the mathematical relationship that describers the distance a car might travel if a given amount of pressure on the accelerator is applied for a given period of time.

And, by the way, that does not mean that there are no other forces acting on the car. If the car is repeatedly bumping an immovable brick wall, then applying pressure to the accelerator might simply cause the wheels to spin, without the car going the distance it would otherwise go. So, in addition to NOT being a way to describe how banks actually routinely make loans, the money multiplier ALSO is NOT the ONLY description of the mathematical relationships inherent in banking.

Again, maybe the citations to these weird texts have already been posted, but if so I think it would be helpful if someone re-posted them. I would like to see citations to the specific academic texts that actually claim that the money multiplier is a description of the actual physical, routine process of making bank loans. I would be curious to see author, title, publication date, and quotes from the actual texts. Much heat has been generated over this issue on these talk pages, so perhaps such texts do exist. Famspear (talk) 15:03, 1 November 2016 (UTC)

PS: Just as it is incorrect to claim that the money multiplier effect is an accurate way to describe how banks routinely make loans, it is just as incorrect to claim (as one editor has done on another talk page) that it is physically impossible for a bank to make a loan to one customer by using currency previously deposited by another customer. Obviously, it is physically possible. It's just not how things are usually done. Again, if this were the way things were routinely done (if the money multiplier were a description of a routine banking process), you would see people walking out of bank lobbies everywhere with loans in the form of bags of money. However, if such an aberration never occurred, there would be no need for the AICPA Audit Guide for bank auditors to have designated that practice as a weakness in internal control. In the United States, under the Federal Reserve System rules, bank reserves include (but are not limited to) the actual physical vault cash -- the actual paper currency and coin owned by the bank. A commercial bank can indeed make a loan using some of its reserves -- it's just that the practice is not routine, and it would be frowned upon by bank auditors. Famspear (talk) 15:22, 1 November 2016 (UTC)

Reissgo gave this quote (from some material from the Bank of England, I think): "While the money multiplier theory can be a useful way of introducing money and banking in economic textbooks, it is not an accurate description of how money is created in reality".
The quoted material is a correct statement.
But then, there is this quote: "This description of the relationship between monetary policy and money differs from the description in many introductory textbooks..."
Really? Which introductory textbooks? I would like to see one of these introductory textbooks where an author claims that the money multiplier is a description of the way money is actually created. Where are these texts? Who are the authors? What are the titles? Who published them? What are the exact offending words, and where are they found? On what pages? I'm not saying that these textbooks don't exist. Let's identify some of them. Famspear (talk) 15:58, 1 November 2016 (UTC)
Tellingly, the article as presently worded, states: "A mechanism used to calculate the maximum size of the money supply from any given quantity of base money and a given reserve ratio, is known as the "money multiplier"."
That is not a claim that the "money multiplier" is a description of an actual physical process routinely used by banks. Nowhere in the article do I see such a claim. Indeed, the article correctly describes the routine process of money creation -- through the making of loans by creation of deposit liabilities. So, I don't see the tremendous conflict that Reissgo seems to believe is there in the article. Famspear (talk) 16:20, 1 November 2016 (UTC)

PS: I do recall that someone, on one of these talk pages, had provided a link to a list of citations where various people claimed that various texts espoused the idea that the money multiplier is a description of how banks actually, physically, routinely create money in the form of deposit liabilities. It's just that I have never seen the various texts themselves. I'm not saying that the texts don't exist, and I'm not saying that the texts aren't making the erroneous claim that Reissgo (and apparently others) believe the texts are making. I'm just saying that I haven't seen the texts myself.

It might be helpful -- before we try to "correct" a Wikipedia article that does not really seem to me to be making the objectionable claim that Reissgo seems to think the article is making -- to track down some more of the background for this whole "controversy." Famspear (talk) 19:06, 1 November 2016 (UTC)

I have changed the hierarchy of the heading for the section of the article on the money multiplier, to take it out of the section that describes the actual, routine physical process of making loans by creating deposit liabilities. I have not changed the text itself. This re-arrangement might help to alleviate misunderstandings that these two sections are somehow two "competing" theories about how money is created. They're not competing theories. They are explanations of different aspects of banking. Famspear (talk) 19:39, 1 November 2016 (UTC)

If we can locate some of these texts that contain the supposedly misleading information about what the money multiplier is, we might find that the problem is really just imprecise use of language.

In our every day speech and writing, we write and say things that are not denotatively correct, but which are connotatively correct in the sense that we are using the words we use.

Example: We often say that such and such a health insurance policy covers this or that "pre-existing condition." Under the so-called Obamacare law in the United States, we often say that coverage of pre-existing conditions is now mandatory. Of course, denotatively, this is false -- or at least it is imprecise, if we think carefully about it.

Technically, most health insurance policies do not "cover" a "condition," pre-existing or otherwise. Generally speaking, an insurance company is not going to pay benefits merely because you have a particular "condition." What the insurance company does is to pay the COSTS that you incur in connection with suffering from that condition. The insurance company pays some or all of your doctor bill, your hospital bill, your prescription drug bill, and so on. It's not the state of having the condition that is being "covered"; it's the actual COSTS you incur in connection with that condition that are covered. A few months ago, I actually heard a well-known radio commentator base an argument on the fallacy of his thinking that "coverage" of a pre-existing condition literally meant covering the condition itself, rather than the cost incurred because of that condition. (Of course, there are thousands of insurance companies, so perhaps there is are a few somewhere that literally pay you just for having a medical condition -- but the examples of that would be pretty rare.)

Precision in language can be important. In economics, however, certain concepts about certain phenomena are taught in isolation -- to aid the student in grasping the concept, with the understanding that other phenomena will be explained later, in a later teaching, and that both the currently-taught concept and the later-to-be taught phenomena can have inter-related effects that will be explained later. Sometimes, the teacher may not be as precise in the use of language as he or she should be. Other times, however, the student should be expected to understand that a certain basic concept is being taught in isolation, and that the student should be able to overcome the teacher's imprecision in the use of language. Perhaps we might later find that some texts that explain the money multiplier are doing so in, shall we say, an "inartful" manner. Famspear (talk) 20:01, 1 November 2016 (UTC)

re: "I have never seen a textbook that says that banks routinely make loans by actually physically paying out the money the banks have previously received as deposits."... so the very first place I looked was my Principles of Economics (International Students Edition - third edition). In chapter 29 it says "Let's suppose that First National [bank] has a reserve ratio of 10 percent. This means that it keeps 10 percent of its deposits in reserve and loans out the rest." this sentence clearly gives the impression that the bank is lending out its reserves. Which as you, me and the BoE know is not the case. The reader of Mankiw is misled. This is why the BoE are complaining. Reissgo (talk) 08:07, 2 November 2016 (UTC)
re: "Instead, the money multiplier is a description of a mathematical relationship regarding the effect of certain things that can happen in the banking system." - agreed. It describes a ceiling on the money supply that would occur if the central bank held the amount of central bank money constant... but the central bank don't keep the amount of central bank money constant, they allow the banks to get more of it whenever they ask. Therefore the ceiling simply does not apply to the real world. Why even bother going through the maths and producing tables and graphs? It's like discussing how many fairies can dance on the head of a pin. Reissgo (talk) 08:39, 2 November 2016 (UTC)
It seems to me that neither Famspear or LawrenceKhoo are not actually saying the the BoE paper is technically wrong in any way. They are merely claiming that it is compatible with the textbook story. If this is the case, why don't we just explain fractional reserve banking in the way that the BoE paper explains it and then we can all be happy? Reissgo (talk) 09:06, 2 November 2016 (UTC)

Dear Reissgo: Thanks for providing an example of what I was asking about -- in this case, the Mankiw textbook. I believe this is an example of what I was discussing: a situation where a text is denotatively wrong. The Mankiw statement that a bank "keeps 10 percent of its deposits in reserve and loans out the rest" -- if taken literally -- is simply not a correct statement of the physical process of how banks generally and routinely make loans. So, if a student were to take the Mankiw statement literally, the student would definitely be misled. Mankiw apparently is trying to teach, but at best is not being precise in his use of the English language.

Now, it might be that Mankiw does not realize that he's misleading the reader. If we were to ask Mankiw whether he is trying to say that bank customers routinely walk out of the bank with their loans in the form of actual bags of paper currency and coin, we would hope that Mankiw would say "no," and would come to realize that he has used the language in an imprecise way in his textbook.

To your next point: You seem to be saying that because the central bank does not keep the amount of central bank money constant and because "the ceiling simply does not apply to the real world," that we should change the way the money multiplier is presented in the Wikipedia article. You seem to be saying that presenting the details on the money multiplier is like "discussing how many fairies can dance on the head of a pin" and, apparently you find the presentation objectionable for that reason. But articles and texts on economics are full of illustrations like this.

Again, to use your own analogy, our awareness of the fact that some water is draining out of a bathtub should not prevent us from explaining, in mathematical terms, the effect of the water that is simultaneously flowing into the bathtub.

Life is complicated, human interactions are complicated, and therefore the study of economics is complicated. The math of the money multiplier is analogous to the math of the water flowing into the bathtub. The math is not "wrong," and the money multiplier is not like "fairies dancing on the head of a pin." The money multiplier simply needs to be explained and understood in the context of the larger picture of how banking works. The fact that we might recognize that the central bank does not maintain the amount of central bank money at a constant level does not necessarily mean that the money multiplier -- where properly described in reasonably precise language -- is wrong.

Just as a footnote: I cannot speak for Lawrence, but I am not claiming that the Bank of England paper is compatible with all "textbook stories" on banking. I am saying that the Bank of England paper -- at least as you have described it -- appears to be compatible with the textbook I studied in college. Famspear (talk) 14:49, 2 November 2016 (UTC)

It appears that, at least with regard your latest edits, we are not so far apart. We both agree that the sentence "keeps 10 percent of its deposits in reserve and loans out the rest" has the potential to mislead and would need to come with a big health warning (if used). We're also agreed that the money-multiplier-ceiling does not apply in the real world today. So perhaps we can agree that a fair characterisation of most textbooks teaching of the monetary system is as follows:
1. Banks lend and re-lend reserves in an ever diminishing geometric series.
2. the reserve requirement puts a ceiling on the amount of money that can be created.
3. Point 1 is not exactly true.
4. Point 2 is not true at all.
5. We hope you've understood it all.
Now the re-lending/multiplier method of explaining the system is not the only way that it can be explained. It can be explained more directly (without the need to include corrections of potentially misleading statements) - I think it used to be explained more directly many decades ago and is probably explained more directly in some books today. The BoE paper explains the system directly. Why doesn't Wikipedia? Reissgo (talk) 20:50, 2 November 2016 (UTC)
Dear Reissgo: You would really have to read most of the textbooks out there to be able to make these kinds of claims about those textbooks. And, you might need to find a reliable, previously published third party source that asserts those claims.
Please note that the Wikipedia article already explains the fact that a commercial bank generally creates deposit liabilities when the bank makes a loan.
You may be over-focused on the money multiplier concept. Focus instead on the reserve requirement. The reserve requirement, as least in the United States, consists of a legal limit on the amount of certain deposit liabilities that a commercial bank can owe at a given time. The amount of that limit (in terms of U.S. dollars, in the case of the United States) is generally based on the dollar amount of reserves owned by the commercial bank at a given time. "Reserves" generally consist (in the United States) of the dollar amount of vault cash plus (in general) the dollar amount of the commercial bank's balance in its account with the central bank (i.e., in its account with the applicable Federal Reserve bank). In the United States, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System sets that limit, and changes it about once or twice a year. The rule is found in something called "Regulation D."
Part of your struggle might be with the concept that the reserve requirement is changed from time to time. The mere fact that the reserve requirement (at least in the United States) is changed once or twice a year does not mean that the reserve requirement does not put a legal limit on the amount of deposit liabilities that a commercial bank can owe at a given time. Famspear (talk) 03:18, 3 November 2016 (UTC)
Replying to the points raised, point 1 is true given a certain context. Assuming that Central Banks limit the amount of high powered money, then a monetary injection will lead banks to lend and re-lend in an ever diminishing geometric series. The only reason it would not be true today is that Central Banks do not limit the amount of high powered money, instead they lower the interest rates in the interbank market.
Point 2 is correct. The reserve requirement *does* put a ceiling on the amount of money that can be created. It is largely not a *binding* ceiling today, but it nonetheless exists. It is to a large extent not a binding ceiling today because banks are restricted by their Basel capital requirements, and being in a liquidity trap situation, most banks are awash with money.
LK (talk) 09:09, 3 November 2016 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Bernie Sanders said, "Enough with the damned Bank of England already." SPECIFICO talk 13:35, 3 November 2016 (UTC)

PS: In a post above, I stated that the reserve requirement in the United States consists of a limit on the amount of certain deposit liabilities that a commercial bank can owe at a given time. A better way to state the rule is the other way around: The commercial bank must maintain a certain amount of reserves, and that amount is equal to a fraction of the total amount of certain deposit liabilities owed by the bank to its customers. The applicable deposit liabilities are called the "Net Transaction Accounts" (NTAs), and are specifically defined in Regulation D. Famspear (talk) 14:47, 3 November 2016 (UTC)
@Lawrencekhoo: You are making my point for me. In relation to point 1, you needed to add "given a certain context" and in relation to point 2, you needed to add "not a binding ceiling today". That's the whole problem with the "textbook" story, that's why the BoE paper criticises the textbooks so strongly and frequently. Its a case of misdirection. Why do we need to tell a story that's so blatantly wrong and then add complicated corrections in the small print at the end? Why not tell the story correctly in the first place? It seems that nobody here is actually claiming the there is anything actually incorrect about the BoE paper - is there? Reissgo (talk) 16:07, 5 November 2016 (UTC)

Dear Reissgo: What do you mean by "why not tell the story correctly in the first place?"? What specific verbiage in the article is "so blatantly wrong"? Please copy and paste it here on the talk page. Famspear (talk) 17:34, 5 November 2016 (UTC)

PS: I'll help you out. At the beginning of this section, you state: "There are two competing theories about how the monetary system works presented on the main page. The "money multiplier" theory and the "endogenous money" theory."

Except for your reference to the error in the Mankiw text, you have not (as far as I know) identified any place where the money multiplier concept has been presented incorrectly. Specfically, nowhere in this Wikipedia article is the Mankiw error present in any part of the brief discussion of the money multiplier. As this article is presently constructed, there are precisely eleven places where the term "money multiplier" is present. Please copy and paste the specific text using that term that you feel constitutes "not telling the story correctly." Thanks. Famspear (talk) 17:50, 5 November 2016 (UTC)

You ask "where the money multiplier concept has been presented incorrectly" - but it shouldn't really be anywhere at all. IIRC the Money multiplier is not mentioned in the BoE paper in the process of explaining the system except to say that its either irrelevant, misleading or downright wrong. What purpose does it serve to mention it at all? Currently it has its own prominent section with three equations and a diagram - giving the reader the impression that it's an important aspect of understanding the monetary system.
Then there is the sentence starting "When a loan is made by the commercial bank (which keeps only a fraction of the central bank money as reserves), using the central bank money from the commercial bank's reserves...", what do you think a non-expert would think after reading that? The sentence gives a strong impression that the bank is directly lending out its reserves.
I'm still waiting to hear one word of criticism of the BoE paper in this thread. Reissgo (talk) 16:35, 6 November 2016 (UTC)
OK, now we're getting somewhere, Reissgo. Essentially, your argument has shifted. Now, you're admitting that your complaint is not merely that the money multiplier is somehow being mis-described in the Wikipedia article. What you're really saying is that you don't want the money multiplier "anywhere at all" in the article.
You're also incorrect about a very important point. The money multiplier concept IS an important aspect of understanding the monetary system. Specifically, it is a way of estimating a certain amount of money. The key word here is estimating. The article does not claim that the money multiplier is somehow a description of the actual physical process of creating deposits, etc. (although, as you have pointed out, Mankiw incorrectly described it that way). In other words, your motivation is actually that you don't like the concept of the money multiplier itself.
Now, the sentence you quoted is misleading -- but that sentence is not found in the section on the money multiplier and does not expressly refer to the money multiplier. The problem with that sentence can be easily rectified, which I shall take care of shortly. (Thanks for point it out, though; somehow I hadn't even read that part of the article, as you have been so focused on the "money multiplier" section of the article.) Famspear (talk) 17:43, 6 November 2016 (UTC)
OK, I have now corrected the article to make clear that the erroneous statement is not the position of Wikipedia itself, but is the assertion of Mankiw. The next section of the text of the article already correctly explains the process of deposit creation (debit loan, credit deposit). So, I also re-organized the material a bit.
Again: The money multiplier is an important, valid concept in the economics of banking. It does need to be correctly explained, based on reliable, previously published sources. It does not need to be removed from the article. Famspear (talk) 17:57, 6 November 2016 (UTC)

PS: Reissgo, the rest of us are not here to evaluate the Bank of England paper (by Michael McLeay, Amar Radia and Ryland Thomas). Indeed, the Bank of England paper is for the most part correct. Here are some excerpts:

"This article explains how the majority of money in the modern economy is created by commercial banks making loans."

That is essentially correct. Banks only rarely lend out their reserves. I have been through this with you over and over and over. People almost never borrow money by walking out of the bank with bags of paper currency and coin. Such a lending practice is specifically considered a weakness in internal control in the AICPA guidance for bank auditors.

"Money creation in practice differs from some popular misconceptions — banks do not act simply as intermediaries, lending out deposits that savers place with them, and nor do they ‘multiply up’ central bank money to create new loans and deposits."

That is essentially correct. Nothing in the Wikipedia description of the money multiplier materially contradicts that.

"Another common misconception is that the central bank determines the quantity of loans and deposits in the economy by controlling the quantity of central bank money — the so-called ‘money multiplier’ approach."

The authors are using the term "money multiplier" in a slightly different way than is described in the article. As described in the article, the money multiplier is a way of estimating the size of the money supply. The authors are not using the term that way. They are using the term to describe the misconception that some people have -- misconceptions perhaps made worse by comments such as those by Mankiw -- about how the system actually works.

"While the money multiplier theory can be a useful way of introducing money and banking in economic textbooks, it is not an accurate description of how money is created in reality.

Those are correct statements. The Wikipedia article is not materially inconsistent with those statements.

".....the relationship between reserves and loans typically operates in the reverse way to that described in some economics textbooks....."

That may well be the case -- but the Wikipedia article description of the money multiplier is not materially inconsistent with that assertion. Famspear (talk) 18:22, 6 November 2016 (UTC)

References

  1. ^ Tobin, James. Commercial banks as creators of" money.". Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics at Yale University, 1964. PDF

Proposed addition RE: credit creation[edit]

Ressigo, I think the way forward, if you still want to change the article, is to suggest incremental changes to the presentation. I would support for example, a caveat in the money-multiplier section that the lending-relending process from a monetary injection (that the simple money multiplier model presents) does not usually happen in today's institutional framework. Instead a lowering of the interest rate causes banks to slowly increase credit creation. Also, it would not be remiss to include more discussion of how the Basel capital controls limits bank credit creation.

However, I want to note that sources (like the BoE article you reference) that state that the simple money multiplier model is 'wrong' does not imply that the endogenous money view is right. In a sense, all models are 'wrong'. For example, the LM curve from the IS-LM model is wrong in today's institutional framework, where the supply of money is elastic. However, the IS-LM model is still a standard fixture of textbooks, and so it should remain in Keynesian economics page. As long as the money multiplier is a fixture of standard texts about the banking system, it should remain here. It is a standard fixture in texts because it is an illuminating model that helps readers to understand the way the banking system works. Although the institution framework is more complicated today, the money multiplier model helps readers understand how fractional reserve banking allows a larger supply of money, by illustrating what would happen in a simple fractional reserve banking system where there is a fixed supply of money. LK (talk) 03:41, 7 November 2016 (UTC)

@Famspear: Re: "Essentially, your argument has shifted." - not at all. I was never complaining that the money multiplier was mis-described, I have always said that it is plain wrong.
Re: "it is a way of estimating..." to say that the money multiplier is a way of estimating the total amount of money that can be created is like saying that a thermometer is a way of estimating magnetic flux, i.e. it is not an estimate at all. The money multiplier has no predictive powers of anything in the real world, and the BoE and others have made exactly this point.
@Lawrencekhoo: I have made an edit which I think fits in with what you proposed, I will wait to see if this is accepted before I do anything else. Reissgo (talk) 10:48, 11 November 2016 (UTC)
I have reverted that change. I'd be surprised if LK feels that this edit reflects what he said, but he'll speak for himself. The edit reads like an unsourced UNDUE/OR editorial commentary on the article text. WP doesn't do that. The constructive way to deal with this sort of change would be to give LK time to propose an edit that might reflect maintstream narratives, if any, that contextualize the material accurately and appropriately. Unless he chooses to do so, I think this matter has been amply litigated and that any further discussion is distracting from article improvement in other areas. SPECIFICO talk 14:02, 11 November 2016 (UTC)

I agree with SPECIFICO on this. Further, LK has now provided some revised language which appears to be quite an improvement. Famspear (talk) 21:13, 11 November 2016 (UTC)

PS: The assertion that the money multiplier "has no predictive powers of anything in the real world" is, bluntly, not a credible position. Further, the "thermometer/magnetic flux" analogy is illogical. The fact that the amount of reserves (or even the amount of required reserves) held by commercial banks can change (whether as result of the action of a central bank, or for some other reason) does not change the fact that the size of the money supply at a given moment can indeed be estimated by using the money multiplier. The assertion that the money multiplier itself is somehow "plain wrong" is misguided.
As has already been explained in this talk page, some authors (e.g., Horvitz) explain the money multiplier model correctly, and at least one author (Mankiw) does not. Making the statement that some explanations are wrong does not change the fact that other explanations are correct, and that the money multiplier does constitute a valid way to estimate the size of the money supply. Famspear (talk) 22:16, 11 November 2016 (UTC)
Indeed the Money Multiplier is a thing of beauty that has stood the test of time. It is like the Parthenon or the Bank of England bldg on Lombard St. SPECIFICO talk 22:49, 11 November 2016 (UTC)
@Famspear, I agree, but with the caveat that the money multiplier model is a good predictor of the ratio of broad money to reserve money only when interest rates are positive. However, under near zero lower bound conditions (like now), the relationship breaks down. LK (talk) 09:47, 12 November 2016 (UTC)
Re "The assertion that the money multiplier "has no predictive powers of anything in the real world" is, bluntly, not a credible position" -it is entirely credible and is exactly what the BoE are complaining about. Saying that base money & reserve requirement set a cap on the money supply is like saying that the current contents of a child's piggybank sets a cap on a child's spending - whilst neglecting to mention that the child's parents have a stated policy of refilling the piggybank as soon as it becomes empty. It's misdirection. Reissgo (talk) 14:43, 12 November 2016 (UTC)
@Ressigo, the article states clearly that the central bank changes reserve money to follow demand at the target interest rate (refilling the piggy bank in your example). Do you believe that the statement "maximum amount of broad money that can be created by commercial banks, for a given amount of base money and a given reserve ratio" is wrong? Can you elucidate clearly in a few sentences why you believe that? I'm really trying to understand your position. LK (talk) 22:52, 12 November 2016 (UTC)

Dear Reissgo: In the Bank of England article, “Money creation in the modern economy” by Michael McLeay, Amar Radia and Ryland Thomas, the authors correctly point out that there is a flaw in the idea that “the central bank determines the quantity of loans and deposits in the economy by controlling the quantity of central bank money”. The authors refer to this idea as the “money multiplier approach.”

That is not the same thing as the money multiplier as described in the Wikipedia article.

I haven't had a chance to read the entire McLeay article yet, but in relevant part the points are as follows:

"Money creation in practice differs from some popular misconceptions — banks do not act simply as intermediaries, lending out deposits that savers place with them, and nor do they ‘multiply up’ central bank money to create new loans and deposits."

That is a correct statement. The article also states that one misconception is:

".....that the central bank determines the quantity of loans and deposits in the economy by controlling the quantity of central bank money — the so-called ‘money multiplier’ approach."

Neither of those statements support the assertions you are making, Reissgo. As used in the Wikipedia article, the term money multiplier has a different meaning. In Wikipedia, the term instead describes a mathematical formula for estimating the amount of the money supply based on the amount of commercial bank reserves, etc. Like it or not, Reissgo, the money multiplier -- as that term is used in the Wikipedia article and by Horvitz -- is indeed a way of estimating the amount of the money supply based on the amount of commercial bank reserves, etc.

Again, I haven't read the entire McLeay article yet, but nothing I have seen in McLeay supports your position that the money multiplier has no predictive value (if you mean "predictive" in the limited sense of providing an estimate). Your "child's piggy bank" analogy is also wrong. Neither Wikipedia, or LK, nor Horvitz, nor I are saying that the money multiplier does what you seem to be claiming we are saying it does. To be a bit circular for the sake of emphasis: an estimate is an estimate. Famspear (talk) 23:29, 12 November 2016 (UTC) ──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Reissgo -- WP:NOT
SPECIFICO talk 23:54, 12 November 2016 (UTC)

@Lawrencekhoo: Re: "Do you believe that the statement 'maximum amount of broad money that can be created by commercial banks, for a given amount of base money and a given reserve ratio' is wrong?" - no, the sentence is completely accurate but it is used in a way which seems designed to maximise the probability that an inexpert reader will come away with the wrong idea about how the system works in practice. You me and the BoE are all agreed that the money multiplier is not binding in the real world. We all know that if we consider one specific time (T1) and look at the amount of base money and reserve ratio we can calculate a "ceiling" (indeed, at T1, the measured level of the money supply may be significantly below that ceiling, depending on the phase of the economic cycle) - but then if we come back 10 years later (T2), then even if the reserve ratio was the same, the money supply will probably have blasted through the original (T1) "ceiling" and may be way way higher, all because the monetary base was allowed to expand as and when the commercial banks requested. So the the "Ceiling" was never a ceiling at all.
Let's consider the thought processes of a non expert reading the money multiplier section on the main page. First of all they see that "money multiplier" gets its own section heading - clearly they will assume this is something important. Then they see that first sentence - they will think there is some sort of ceiling on the money supply. Then the hear that usually the money supply usually doesn't even reach that ceiling - they will think this is a double strength ceiling, i.e. a ceiling that that will be hard to reach, let alone break through. Then that may notice that these concepts are accompanied by a diagram - they may think - wow this is very important stuff I'd better memorise this. Then we have the next two sentences beginning with the word "additionally"... now the word additionally implies "here comes some extra detail", or "here comes something to add to or confirm what you've just heard"... but what the words after additionally actually mean is "everything you read thus far is of no consequence in the real world, the 'ceiling' is not is not binding in any way, shape or form". Then this is followed up with some equations giving extra detail about the "ceiling", as if to say "never mind about the caveat, lets ladle on some extra information to emphasise the importance of the ceiling".
OK, I agree that the latest money multiplier section does not contain any falsehoods, but the chance that a reader could go away with the wrong impression seems very high to me. Reissgo (talk) 10:12, 13 November 2016 (UTC)
I'm happy to hear that it's a purely presentational issue. We hold different views on what the reader will take away from reading the article, but if the disagreement is purely presentational then we can work on making sure that the article doesn't leave people with a wrong impression of how things work. Again though, the point of the article is to educate people on how a fractional banking system works. Expansion of the money supply from bank credit issuance is a big part of that, and the money multiplier model is a standard way for presenting that idea. LK (talk) 13:37, 13 November 2016 (UTC)
OK, I've made one experimental edit - lets see how long it takes for @SPECIFICO: to revert it. Reissgo (talk) 10:13, 14 November 2016 (UTC)

Dear Reissgo: Your edit looks good to me. Famspear (talk) 19:42, 14 November 2016 (UTC)

PS: With respect to the money multiplier, what is often being calculated is generally an estimate -- i.e., an approximation of the amount of something -- but that's a minor point, I guess. Famspear (talk) 20:37, 14 November 2016 (UTC)

Thank you Famspear for your approval of my first edit.
The money multiplier equation is a precise calculation of the maximum, and an estimate of the measured total money supply - all assuming we are in a world where central banks held base money constant (which we're not).
I have just made a second edit swapping the word "additionally" (which makes no sense to me) with the word "however". I hope this is acceptable. Reissgo (talk) 20:45, 14 November 2016 (UTC)
Well, I don't know what you mean by a "precise calculation," but that's not how economists and accountants in general would characterize it. The money multiplier is not generally intended to be a computation of the exact amount of the money supply at a given time. Famspear (talk) 22:22, 14 November 2016 (UTC)
Confusingly, the phrase "money multiplier" is used in one of three ways (@Lawrencekhoo:, can you back me up on this?):
A) As an observed ratio of monetary aggregates, e.g. M2/M1
B) As an observed ratio of rates of change of monetary aggregates, e.g. delta M2/ delta M1
C) As a prediction of the maximum obtainable quantity of money given a fixed amount of base money.
The money multiplier that we are discussing here is version 'C' and as such the 1/RR equation is perfectly precise, it is not an estimate or approximation at all because what it is predicting is the *maximum* quantity, not the *observed* quantity. Reissgo (talk) 09:20, 15 November 2016 (UTC)

Dear Reissgo: No, if by "perfectly precise" you mean exact -- to the maximum possible amount of actual dollar and penny (or pound or Euro, or whatever). Further, an economist knows that the money multiplier, in its simplest mathematical form, does not account for paper currency and coin held by the general public. The money multiplier cannot be a "perfectly precise" computation or exact prediction of the actual maximum possible amount of the money supply right down to the last dollar, etc. By definition, we are talking about a process of ratio analysis and computation of estimates or approximations -- not of something "precise" -- regardless of whether you are discussing A or B or C in your list. Famspear (talk) 12:13, 15 November 2016 (UTC)

The definition C refers to the *maximum* - i.e. the limiting case where the public hold zero cash. Obviously this would never happen in reality.
P.S. If you think that the money multiplier equation is only an estimate of the maximum, then what is the source of the error? If you replied "the error is caused by the fact that some people hold cash" - then I would reply - "but if some people hold cash then that's not the maximum. The maximum only comes about when nobody holds cash." Reissgo (talk) 13:32, 15 November 2016 (UTC)
The "RR" (the reserve ratio) in the formula is only an estimate (at least that is the case in the United States). There is no one "single" reserve ratio under the rules of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Thus, the money multiplier itself is generally an approximation. Therefore, any amount you compute using the money multiplier will itself be an approximation or estimate.
Calculation of the actual, exact maximum possible money supply amount as of a given time would be an enormous undertaking requiring a mountain of detailed data. You cannot calculate a precise amount using a formula that is, itself, only an approximation. Famspear (talk) 14:05, 15 November 2016 (UTC)
The money multiplier (version C) is an equation that applies to a simplified fantasy world. It says - IF we were in a world where there was a single reserve ratio AND a fixed monetary base THEN the maximum money supply (in the limiting case of nobody holding cash outside the banking system) is exactly 1/RR. That's what the money multiplier is all about. It does not hold true in the real world for many reasons:
1. People do hold some cash
2. There tend to be multiple different reserve ratios for different kinds of lending.
3. For some lending the reserve ratio is zero (meaning the limit is infinity).
4. In some countries the reserve ratio is zero for all loans (again meaning meaning the limit is infinity).
5. The monetary base is not fixed and can be increased on demand by commercial banks (again meaning the limit is infinity).
If you wish to claim that the money multiplier (version C) is applicable to the real world, then please tell me what it is that the money multiplier equation approximates... infinity?
IMHO The money multiplier is not supposed to be an estimate of real world figures, instead it is a precise calculation of the upper limit of what could happen (in the limit of nobody holding cash) in a simplified model world. Reissgo (talk) 14:34, 15 November 2016 (UTC)

Dear Reissgo: I am saying that the money multiplier does not apply in the real world as anything other than an estimate of what it purports to measure: the size (or maximum possible size) of the money supply. I repeat what I wrote earlier: The money multiplier is not generally intended to be a computation of the exact amount of the money supply at a given time. It is used to compute an estimate of the maximum possible amount of the money supply at a given time. You cannot compute a "precise" amount where the ratio you are using is only an estimate.

If, in a particular economy, you could come up with a ratio that is precise (i.e., is not an estimate), then I suppose you might be able to compute a "precise" maximum possible amount of the money supply in that particular economy, perhaps.

In the United States, to compute what I might call (for purposes of discussion) the effective money multiplier (i.e., a ratio that would not be an estimate at all) would require a tremendous amount of detailed data from thousands of commercial banks, etc. Famspear (talk) 15:17, 15 November 2016 (UTC)

PS: For new readers of this discussion, some background: the money multiplier as it is often presented, is a rounded figure, such as 2.6 or 3.1. In such a case, the multiplier is not the exact, precise multiplicative inverse of the reserve ratio or of anything else -- for the simply reason that that is no " the reserve ratio". At least in the United States, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, in its Regulation D, prescribes a graduated, or progressive, rate schedule. As of the time of this writing (mid-November 2016), the Board of Governors actually prescribes three different reserve requirement rates (zero percent, three percent, and ten percent) that apply to various components or levels of what are called "Net Transaction Accounts". In the United States, there is no "one and only one" prescribed reserve ratio that applies to all commercial banks in the economy at any given time, so a computation using a money multiplier based on only one reserve ratio will, by definition not be precise; the computation will result in an estimate.

To compute a "precise" effective money multiplier, for the entire American economy, you might at a minimum have to take into consideration the data from each of thousands of commercial banks separately, and with that data you would compute an effective reserve ratio and an effective money multiplier. To be accurate enough to calculate an exact, precise amount to the nearest dollar or even the nearest thousand dollars, the money multiplier you use would almost have to be a precise number, carried out to many, many decimal places. Perhaps the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System or someone else is doing that, but that's what it would take. Famspear (talk) 15:56, 15 November 2016 (UTC)

Here's an illustration. The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis currently publishes a chart showing its version of changes in the money multiplier since about February of 1984. The current version of the chart (for November 3, 2016) is here: [2]. (This chart will change as time goes by.) The money multiplier is shown in the chart as a number carried out to only three places to the right of the decimal. For example, for February 15, 1984, the money multiplier was 2.876. For October 26, 2016, it was 0.923. These money multiplier figures are only estimates -- they are rounded off to the nearest thousandth of a unit. These figures simply cannot be used to compute a "precise" amount of much of anything, much less the precise maximum amount of possible demand deposit liabilities -- to the nearest penny, or to the nearest dollar, or even the to the nearest thousand dollars -- that could be owed by the commercial banks as of the dates indicated. An amount that is computed by multiplying some other amount by a rounded off figure is going to be an estimate. Famspear (talk) 16:46, 15 November 2016 (UTC)
I am baffled by your arguments, I feel like you are blurring the distinction between the type A and type C money multiplier. I have no idea how to persuade you of my point other than by things I have already pointed out. Reissgo (talk) 18:17, 15 November 2016 (UTC)

Dear Reissgo: No, you aren't baffled by my arguments at all. You're just bobbing and weaving -- in response to what I have clearly explained. Re-read your own comments. Then, read my response.

You stated: "....the 1/RR equation is perfectly precise, it is not an estimate or approximation at all because what it is predicting is the *maximum* quantity, not the *observed* quantity."

I pointed out that no, the money multiplier is an estimate. Therefore, any amount that is computed by multiplying that estimate by some other number is, by definition, only an estimate. This is true regardless of whether you are talking about your "A" version of the money multiplier, or your "B" version, or your "C" version, or any other version. A dollar amount (or a pound amount, or a Euro amount, etc.) computed based on an estimate will itself also be an estimate.

The fact that a given version of the money multiplier might be "predicting" the maximum quantity of something (and not an "observed" quantity) does not change the fact that the money multiplier is an estimate and that the "maximum quantity" that will be computed thereby will also be an estimate. Generally, you cannot magically conjure an exact, precise amount of anything from a computation that involves a figure that is an estimate (such as a rounded off amount, in this case). What you will come up with is an estimate of the maximum quantity, etc. Famspear (talk) 18:56, 15 November 2016 (UTC)

Re: "the money multiplier is an estimate. Therefore, any amount that is computed by multiplying that estimate by some other number is, by definition, only an estimate"... hmmm... but if the central bank said "the reserve ratio is 20%" then the money multiplier (type C) is 5. Where was the "estimation" in that process?
The textbooks describe a simplified model world in which there is a single reserve ratio (and a fixed monetary base). If you want to discuss the real world with multiple reserve ratios (including zero) and a non-fixed monetary base, then the type-C money multiplier story is simply not applicable. Reissgo (talk) 10:24, 16 November 2016 (UTC)
Ummmm, if pigs could fly, I would be careful if I am walking under a bunch of flying pigs. If, if, if. Where was the "estimation" in that process?
You incorrectly stated above that the "1/RR equation is perfectly precise, it is not an estimate or approximation at all...." You were wrong, as I demonstrated from an actual real-world example (the U.S. banking system). One of the recurring themes of your struggles in various posts in the talk pages of these banking-related articles of Wikipedia has been that the real world differs from some of the textbook explanations. Yet, when I provided a real-world example showing that your argument that the equation is "perfectly precise" was wrong, you revert to a hypothetical example where the central bank says "the reserve ratio is 20%."
OK, so let's leave the real world and look at your hypothetical example. If a central bank sets the reserve ratio at 20%, that is not an "estimate." However, a reserve ratio is not an equation. If you insert the multiplicative inverse of that 20% reserve ratio into an equation, you might be able to come up with an amount for the maximum obtainable quantity of money, etc. (again, ignoring currency in the hands of the public, etc.) that would be "precise" (i.e., not an estimate).
You say: "If you want to discuss the real world with multiple reserve ratios (including zero) and a non-fixed monetary base, then the type-C money multiplier story is simply not applicable." You don't say what you mean by "not applicable." Obviously, in the multiple reserve ratio situation (the actual situation in the United States banking system), the type C money multiplier can indeed be used to compute an estimate of the maximum obtainable quantity of money -- which leads right back to my earlier, axiomatic point: an amount that is only an estimate is not a precise amount. Famspear (talk) 15:31, 16 November 2016 (UTC)
OK, I finally think I see what you mean by estimate. I think you are referring to how multiple reserve ratios could be combined into an effective reserve ratio. So if we had two rates A and B for two different types of account then the effective overall reserve ratio would be somewhere between A and B is that what you're saying? - I'll wait for confirmation before going any further. Reissgo (talk) 19:40, 16 November 2016 (UTC)

Well, that would be one example. When you use a money multiplier that was computed based on an effective reserve ratio which in turn is based on multiple reserve ratios, the money multiplier, when used in a formula, could result in a maximum obtainable money quantity that is an estimate (i.e., that is not the exact maximum amount).

Further, you could envision a situation where a central bank computed a money multiplier from just one reserve ratio, but decided to either round or truncate the published version of the money multiplier. In that situation, the maximum obtainable money quantity computed from that money multiplier would be an estimate (not the exact maximum amount).

In short, a computation using a factor that is either (A) based on an average of multiple numbers, or (B) based on a truncated figure, or (C) based on a rounded figure, or (D) some combination of the foregoing, that is multiplied by something to determine "some other amount", is generally going to result in that "some other amount" being an estimate. Famspear (talk) 22:01, 16 November 2016 (UTC)

I'm going to ignore the truncated/rounded issue. To say that an equation gives only an approximate answer because you may use only an approximate method to calculate it, is IMHO plain silly.
With regard "an average of multiple numbers". Imagine that the reserve ratio for two different types of account were A and B. Then the maximum possible money created would be based on the assumption that *all* the lending was done via the account type with the lower reserve ratio, i.e. in computer programming parlance, "min(A,B)". This does not require any "estimation". Also note that if we have multiple reserve ratios and one of them is zero, then that maximum size of the money supply is infinity.
With regard the flying pigs criticism, i.e. that my comments about the money multiplier only applied to a fantasy world that does not exist - well exactly, I make no apologies because the money multiplier *does* only apply to a fantasy world that does not exist. It applies to a world in which the central bank limits the money supply by holding base money constant. In the real world no central bank does this. Reissgo (talk) 08:00, 17 November 2016 (UTC)
Dear Reissgo: You're still bobbing and weaving. If you multiply a number by another number that happens to be an estimate, the answer you obtain will be an estimate. That's not "silly." It's basic math.
No, where you have multiple reserve ratios and one of them is zero, the maximum size of the money supply is not "zero." Your math is wrong.
No, the money multiplier does not apply "only" in a "fantasy world that does not exist." The money multiplier involves a mathematical estimate of the maximum possible amount of the money supply at a given moment in time. Whether the central bank holds base money constant or not over time does not change this fact. Famspear (talk) 12:19, 17 November 2016 (UTC)

Time to change which theory gets prominence? - Summary[edit]

This page previously contained a debate about the "money multiplier" vs "The BoE paper" which was closed (perhaps rightly) after it become overly long. However, I don't believe the discussion should be buried because A) those in favour of the BoE paper were in a majority of four to (at most) three and B) there was actually some consensus beginning to emerge that perhaps there was no need for the main page to contradict anything in the BoE paper. Nobody at any point in the entire (lengthy) discussion had a single criticism of the BoE paper. So it appears that edits to the main page reflecting the BoE position should be allowed.

The addition of this summary section is not intended to instigate a whole new debate but rather as a reference.

For anyone that missed the opening statement from the original thread, here it is again:

There are two competing theories about how the monetary system works presented on the main page. The "money multiplier" theory and the "endogenous money" theory. Up until now the "money multiplier" model has been presented prominently with the "endogenous money" scarcely mentioned or being presented as "alternative" or "heterodox". There have been many peer reviewed papers suggesting that the endogenous money theory is the one that actually corresponds to reality, but as some wiki editors pointed out (perhaps rightly) have been in rather small journals and have been paid little attention by the mainstream. However this all changed at the start of 2014 when McLeay et al published "Money creation in the modern economy" in the Bank of England Quarterly Bulletin, arguably the most authoritative journal on the workings of the monetary system that exists. This paper has since had 230 citations. Correct me if I'm wrong but I do not know of any academic papers that have challenged the paper and defended the money multiplier. At what point should wikipedia acknowledge that the endogenous money theory has become the new consensus? Now perhaps?
Indeed former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada, William R White seems to think the consensus changed already, when in 2002 he said: "Some decades ago, the academic literature would have emphasised the importance of the reserves supplied by the central bank to the banking system, and the implications (via the money multiplier) for the growth of money and credit. Today, it is more broadly understood that no industrial country conducts policy in this way under normal circumstances." — Preceding unsigned comment added by Reissgo (talkcontribs)
I'm not sure that this re-addition summary section is needed on this talk page "as a reference." I do agree with Reissgo that there is no need for a "whole new debate."
We have already demonstrated that the Wikipedia article, as currently written, already reflects an essential substance of the Bank of England article as to how demand deposit liabilities normally are created. We have also demonstrated that the money multiplier, as properly described in the Wikipedia article and in textbooks such as the Horvitz text, is not a description of how demand deposit liabilities are usually created, but is instead a description of a way to estimate something. Further, the Wikipedia article also already includes references, with citations, to various critiques of the money multiplier.
There are not "two competing theories" about "how the money system works" on the "main page" Wikipedia article -- at least not in the sense that Reissgo apparently means. The Wikipedia article correctly describes how loans are made by creating deposit liabilities. The article also correctly describes how the money multiplier is used to compute a particular estimate of the amount of money at a given point in time. These are not two "competing" theories of the same thing; they are two descriptions of two different things. Famspear (talk) 14:49, 24 November 2016 (UTC)
How about integrating anything that's new in the Bank of England article or clarifying what has already been described? Wikipedia isn't about facts but information from reliable sources, of which the BoE is certainly one when it comes to banking. --JamesPoulson (talk) 05:29, 2 December 2016 (UTC)
I agree the article is misleading and "Money creation in the modern economy" is actually the most up-to-date and complete explanation. There are two important papers: Money creation in the modern economy and Money in the modern economy: an introduction. You also find the corresponding video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvRAqR2pAgw and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziTE32hiWdk. I don't understand why those papers are not used for citations in the article but only in external links. --Gagarine (talk) 12:57, 30 December 2016 (UTC)
You would need to be specific. Which line in the Wikipedia article is "misleading"? Also, you would need to be specific as to why you don't "understand why those [Bank of England] papers are not used for citations in the article". What specific statements in the Bank of England papers should be used as sources for material to be added to the article, and what specific wording would you like to see added to the article? Famspear (talk) 15:05, 30 December 2016 (UTC)

More on money creation[edit]

The equivalent of excess reserves is loaned out, NOT the excess reserves themselves. Banks do this by issuing credit out of thin air, and it is how some banks can lend out money with a zero reserve requirements.

When the Federal Reserve creates money it eventually reaches the level of commercial banks, perpetuating this process of debt-money creation.

https://archive.org/details/NationalEconomyAndTheBankingSystemOfTheUnitedStates (PAGE 102)
Robert H. Hemphill (former credit manager of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta) explains it nicely:

If all bank loans were paid, no one would have a bank deposit, and there would not be a dollar of currency or coin in circulation. This is a staggering thought. We are completely dependent on the commercial banks. Someone has to borrow every dollar we have in circulation, cash or credit. If the banks create ample synthetic money, we are properous: If not, we starve. We are absolutely without a permanent monetary system. When one gets a complete grasp upon the picture, the tragic absurdity of our hopeless position is almost incredible-but there it is. It (the banking problem) is the most important subject intelligent persons can investigate and reflect upon. It is so important that our present civilization may collapse unless it is widely understood and the defects remedied very soon.

--IntelligentName (talk) 06:31, 25 November 2016 (UTC)

Demand deposits[edit]

Are referred to as "demand deposits" -- please undo this nonsense along with the rest of it. Use talk. Edit warring is not constructive. SPECIFICO talk 13:45, 5 December 2016 (UTC)

One textbook is not "many" textbooks[edit]

User Reissgo has located one example -- the Mankiw text -- where an aspect of the money multiplier is incorrectly described. There may well be other such texts as well. However, we cannot cite just the Mankiw text for the proposition that “many texts” contain the error.

On a related note: In their Bank of England article, “Money Creation in the Modern Economy”, writers Michael McLeay, Amar Radia and Ryland Thomas make this statement:

“One common misconception is that banks act simply as intermediaries, lending out the deposits that savers place with them.”

But, where do McLeay, Radia and Thomas provide the evidence that this misconception is in fact “common”? Unless I missed it in their article, they did not do that. If the misconception cited by McLeay, Radia and Thomas is really so “common,” they should have cited specific examples of where the misconception is found (such as actual textbooks, etc.).

One error in the Mankiw text does not constitute evidence that “many textbooks” include the same error. (On a separate note, the aforementioned bald assertion by McLeay, Radia and Thomas probably would not constitute such evidence, either.)

Speaking of which: We could consider mentioning, in the Wikipedia article, that McLeay, Radia and Thomas assert that the misconception they describe happens to be “common”. After all, McLeay, Radia and Thomas are reliable sources. If we were to do that, however, we should stick to what the reliable sources actually say. Because McLeay, Radia and Thomas assert that the misconception is “common,” Wikipedia can report that those particular authors have taken that position. We would need to be clear that it is those three individuals making that assertion, not Wikipedia itself. Famspear (talk) 17:50, 9 December 2016 (UTC)

Searching for multiple example of the ermmm, "Mankiw error" would be "original research" which is not allowed on wikipedia. Wikipedia is based on finding reliable sources for claims... so if McLeay et al say that many textbooks have the Mankiw-error then that's the end if it. Reissgo (talk) 19:11, 9 December 2016 (UTC)
See my comments above. McLeay et al don't say that many textbooks have the Mankiw-error. McLeay et al say that the misconception is "common." We can cite McLeay for what McLeay actually contends -- but to go beyond that is original research.
No, searching for multiple, additional examples of the error that Mankiw made would not be original research as that term is used in Wikipedia. However, finding and citing such multiple examples -- and then adding a conclusion formulated by Wikipedia editors that those examples are erroneous -- could be original research -- IF we do that without citing to a reliable source that asserts what we are saying. Famspear (talk) 19:34, 9 December 2016 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────@Famspear: I hadn't noticed that staff paper by the 3 BOE employees. It's not noteworthy and not academically reviewed so I deleted the content. SPECIFICO talk 22:19, 9 December 2016 (UTC)

Disagree, sources are noteworthy and the text is hardly controversial. We all agree there was an error, which in this business is certainly noteworthy. The sources are widely accepted and published. Darkstar1st (talk) 11:54, 13 December 2016 (UTC)

I agree with Darkstar1st. Saying that a paper is not "academically reviewed" is not a substantial reason for deletion. Indeed, the vast majority of sources in Wikipedia are not "academically reviewed" (at least, not in the sense of peer-reviewed). And, I see no support for the idea that the paper is not "noteworthy". Famspear (talk) 12:14, 13 December 2016 (UTC)

Ladies and gentlemen, "noteworthy" has a defined meaning on WP. You think this is a top quality frequently cited mainstream paper? What about the millions of other staff articles written at the world's banks? Also belong in an encyclopedia? You are writing an encyclopedia. Please consider all the sourcing policies including POV and self published. SPECIFICO talk 12:34, 13 December 2016 (UTC)

Dear SPECIFICO: I was responding to your use of the term "noteworthy." No, the term "noteworthy" does not have a defined meaning in WP:V or WP:NPOV or WP:NOR.

Further, to the best of my knowledge, there is no Wikipedia rule in WP:V or WP:NPOV or WP:NOR that says that an article has to be "noteworthy" (to use your as-yet undefined term) to be used as a source.

There is also no requirement that a source be a "top quality frequently cited mainstream paper." Many, many sources in Wikipedia are not "frequently" cited. Further, you have not defined what you mean by the term "top quality". Actually, there is no Wikipedia requirement that a source be "top quality," either.

So, what about the supposed "millions of other staff articles"? What's your point, exactly?

Regarding "POV": Sources are allowed to be biased, and sources are allowed to have a POV. In Wikipedia, neutral point of view does not mean that the source has to be neutral or unbiased.

The article in question is, I believe, "Money creation in the modern economy" by Michael McLeay, Amar Radia, and Ryland Thomas. As best I can tell, the article in question is not "self published." It apparently was published in the "Quarterly Bulletin" of the Bank of England in 2014, right on the web site of the Bank of England. See [3]. Famspear (talk) 18:48, 13 December 2016 (UTC) From WP:NPOV:

"......Strive to eliminate expressions that are flattering, disparaging, vague, or clichéd, or that endorse a particular point of view (unless those expressions are part of a quote from a noteworthy source)."

That's the only place I have found that uses the term "noteworthy" -- but it does not define the term and it does not actually say that a source has to be noteworthy. It deals only with the subject of using certain kinds of expressions that may be flattering, disparaging, vague, etc. That's not the issue we're discussing here. Famspear (talk) 18:53, 13 December 2016 (UTC)

Famspear, there is a definition of noteworthy, which is relevant to what content is allowed in articles, see WP:NOTEWORTHY. It basically says that one should stick to WP:RS and be careful not to give the readership the idea that a concept is more important than WP:DUE. There was at one point a push to try and delete any sources and the material they backed up) that were not widely regarded as The Best Sources Ever, see WP:MAINSTREAM for the remnant thereof, but that proposed sea-change was not adopted. 47.222.203.135 (talk) 15:02, 23 December 2016 (UTC)

Do Federal Reserve member banks hold the exclusive right to create money by “lending”?[edit]

Some sources (e.g. http://www.publicbankinginstitute.org) imply that any bank, be it a member of the Federal Reserve system or not, has the right to create US$ denominated loans. This is a subject that I believe deserves discussion in this Wikipedia topic. If this is true there are significant implications for the economy. I am not an expert or a degreed economist--simply a scientist affected by economic crashes such as that of 1929 or that of 2008. I have studied the Federal Reserve system mainly using the Chicago Fed’s Modern Money Mechanics booklet.

For example, if state chartered banks are allowed to use fractional reserve lending, it would seem that such banks would have to be regulated by the Federal Reserve. Otherwise, expansion of the money supply of the US is not determined by the Federal Reserve. This is just one question that needs to be addressed.

If the privilege of fractional reserve lending of US$ denominated money is reserved strictly for member banks of the Federal Reserve at least a mention of this regulation should be made, IMO. --Lobdillj (talk) 00:06, 28 December 2016 (UTC)

This is already covered in the very beginning of the article. "A bank" means just what it says: "A bank." That obviously includes banks that are not member banks in the Federal Reserve System. Famspear (talk) 00:34, 28 December 2016 (UTC)
PS: The rules are complicated with exceptions, but I believe the general rule is that a state chartered bank can indeed be subject to the reserve requirements of Regulation D of the Federal Reserve System, even if that bank is not a member bank in the Federal Reserve System. See generally 12 USC sections 1813(a)(1), 1813(c)(1), 1813(h), 1813(l), and 1815, and very specifically the "eligible to apply to become an insured bank" language in Regulation D, at 12 CFR section 204.1(c)(1)(i). Essentially, a state chartered bank that is "eligible" to "apply" to be an "insured bank" is subject to Regulation D -- whether that bank actually applies or not, and whether that bank is an insured bank or not. Famspear (talk) 03:23, 28 December 2016 (UTC)

Money multiplier equation: Additional detail added - then removed as claimed "SYNTH"[edit]

In the section on the money multiplier equation, I added extra confirmation that the formula was not applicable in the real world with the text:

Indeed the Deutsche Bundesbank have stated "a bank’s ability to grant loans and create money has nothing to do with whether it already has excess reserves or deposits at its disposal". Ref: here

SPECIFICO undid the edit with the claim that it is SYNTH. Would SPECIFICO like to give an explanation? Or perhaps a third editor care to comment? Reissgo (talk) 16:57, 21 May 2017 (UTC)

It's disruptive for you to misrepresent my comment. SYNTH using a primary source. We are bound to WP policy when we choose to edit here. SPECIFICO talk 17:26, 21 May 2017 (UTC)
I have no idea how it is SYNTH, please explain. Reissgo (talk) 17:36, 21 May 2017 (UTC)
It's kind of axiomatic that bad edits may come from editors who "have no idea" -- read WP site policies. These things have been explained to you many times and you don't get command performances from other editors. SPECIFICO talk 18:27, 21 May 2017 (UTC)
Dear Reissgo: I think you pretty much gave the game away. You're saying that you added the quote as "confirmation" that the "formula" (the money multiplier equation) is "not applicable in the real world." But, that's not what the quoted Deutsche Bundesbank material says, and apparently that's not what the authors of the quoted Deutsche Bundesbank material mean. You quoted from page 13 of the Monthly Operating Report for April 2017 (Vol. 69, No. 4) from Deutsche Bundesbank. Your text, as added to the article (and then removed by editor SPECIFICO) was:
”Indeed, the Deutsche Bundesbank have stated "a bank’s ability to grant loans and create money has nothing to do with whether it already has excess reserves or deposits at its disposal.” “ (quoting from the April 2017 report).
This was a reference to excess reserves, not to the money multiplier. However, you inserted that material in a section on the money multiplier. Inserting that material in that way – without showing context – might leave the reader with the idea that you are trying to use that quote to imply that the Deutsche Bundesbank was saying something supporting your own complaints about what the money multiplier effect is, and how the money multiplier does or does not work in the real world. If that’s what you’re trying to do, that might be a prohibited synthesis under Wikipedia rules: quoting from a source and implying that the source material means something other than what the source author means.
Here is the material you quoted in the context of the paragraph in which it is found in the Deutsche Bundesbank report:
”It suffices to look at the creation of (book) money as a set of straightforward accounting entries to grasp that money and credit are created as the result of complex interactions between banks, non-banks and the central bank. And a bank’s ability to grant loans and create money has nothing to do with whether it already has excess reserves or deposits at its disposal. Instead, various economic and regulatory factors constrain the process of money creation. From the perspective of banks, the creation of money is limited by the need for individual banks to lend profitably and also by micro and macroprudential regulations. Non-banks’ demand for credit and portfolio behaviour likewise act to curtail the creation of money. The central bank influences the money and credit creation process in normal times through its interest rate policy, which affects the financing and portfolio decisions of banks and non-banks through various transmission channels.”
(bolding added).
As you can see, in the same paragraph from which you lifted the quote, Deutsche Bundesbank authors mention “microprudential and macroprudential regulations” as a limiting factor on the ability of a bank to create money. Regarding those microprudential and macroprudential regulations, the same text goes on to provide (in part), on page 22:
”[ . . . ] Elements of such [microprudential and macroprudential] regulation, including liquidity and, in particular, capital standards, have the effect of constraining lending. Capital regulations force banks to hold a certain quantity of capital against their lending, depending on the risks involved. This means that banks’ ability to expand their lending is constrained by the capital at their disposal or by their ability to build up additional capital reserves [ . . .]”.
(bolding added).
Deutsche Bundesbank is saying that capital regulations are a limiting factor for banks. The text is saying that banks must “hold a certain quantity of capital against their lending.” In the United States, for example, that is what the reserve requirements of the Federal Reserve System are about.
From page 17, footnote 14:
”Newly created or newly acquired customer deposits on the bank’s balance sheet imply an additional minimum reserve requirement because the overall volume of customer deposits generally determines how much minimum reserves the bank must maintain. For monetary policy reasons, minimum reserves must be kept on the bank’s account with the central bank; the amount of reserves that need to be maintained for this purpose is just a fraction of the deposits held with the bank, however.”
(bolding added). Notice the word "generally."
From page 24, footnote 35, in part:
The ratio of money over the monetary base (reserves plus currency in circulation) is referred to as the “money multiplier”. This, however, should not be broadly interpreted as a causal relationship between reserves and the money supply. The money multiplier is a reduced form resulting from the interaction of the various sectors when determining the money supply and the monetary base [ . . . ] For certain analytical purposes, the simplification involved here may be useful. For other issues, however, it makes sense to look at the driving forces behind the multiplier.
(bolding added).
Nowhere does the Deutsche Bundesbank report say or imply that money multiplier equation is "not applicable in the real world." They are simply pointing out its limitations. Indeed, to say that the money multiplier is "not applicable in the real world" is to over-state your case and to mis-represent what the source material means. Again, the money multiplier is not a description of an actual physical process. It is a way of estimating a possible effect of a process. If the Deutsche Bundesbank authors thought that money multiplier were not applicable in the real world, they would not have pointed out that it is "useful" as a "simplification" for "analytical purposes."
Economists and accountants use mathematical estimates all the time. An estimate is no less real or useful merely because it is an estimate. Famspear (talk) 21:06, 21 May 2017 (UTC)
Note. The text immediately preceding the material you had inserted reads that the "ceiling implied by the money multiplier does not impose a limit on money creation in practice." The point is that whether that's a true statement or not, and whether the authors of the Deutsche Bundesbank report happen to agree with that statement, the Deutsche Bundesbank quote you added probably was not intended by its authors to mean what you want to imply the quote means. That is, at least in part, why the edit might be considered a prohibited synthesis for purposes of Wikipedia. Famspear (talk) 21:14, 21 May 2017 (UTC)
I can not compete with that level of verbiage - so I give up. Reissgo (talk) 14:27, 22 May 2017 (UTC)