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Polycentric banking and macroeconomic stability


We contribute to the post-crisis literature on macroeconomic stability by arguing that polycentric banking systems can better achieve stability than monocentric systems. Building on the theories of E. Ostrom, we engage the literature on free banking systems to show that these systems met the requirements of polycentric governance systems, and that the unintentional result of the underlying governance institutions was macroeconomic stability. In contrast, modern central banking, because it is monocentric, lacks important features regarding knowledge aggregation and incentive compatibility conducive to generating macroeconomic stability. We conclude by discussing various legal barriers that stand in the way of a transition from monetary monocentrism to monetary polycentrism.

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* Corresponding author, Alexander William Salter, Texas Tech Unitersity, Rawls College of Business, Lubbock, TX, e-mail:
Vlad Tarko, Dickinson College, Economics Department, Carlisle, PA, e-mail:
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Business and Politics
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