Initiative Vollgeld

Sovereign Money – Monnaie pleine – Vollgeld: A Swiss initiative

The Sovereign Money initiative will be submitted to the Swiss people in June 2018. The issue is complex and many claims in the debate are confusing, misleading or simply wrong. My objective is not to address each and single argument, but to shed light on some of the broader economic issues.

Academic survey

The Sovereign Money Initiative in Switzerland: An Economic Assessment, Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics 154:3, 1-16, 2018

Summary slides on a previous version of the paper: deutsch, français, English

A major issue I raise in my paper is that there is no academic backing behind this reform: 1) there are no peer-reviewed studies on the benefits of sovereign money reform in general. 2) There has been no economic study talking about the precise text we need to vote on in Switzerland. On the other hand, there are several negative implications.

This is an expert report written for the Swiss Bankers Association. I wrote it totally independently and this was an explicit condition to write this report. I was hesitant to write this report, because the initiative committee is very aggressive and uses dishonest arguments. And indeed the initiative committee accused me of biasing my results, even before seeing the paper! Then the initiative committee issued a press release which is pure defamation, with false or absurd accusations and personal attacks. The initiative committee does not even comment on my paper, but on the slides in German I used for a presentation. Among others they question my results because I am associated with SFI and CEPR whose credibility, they claim, is questionable ! Since the initiative is based on bad economics, their only line of arguments is to discredit economists. In the same spirit, a member of the initiative committee, M. Christian Gomez, has produced an 80-page document, attacking me on almost every page. Besides demonstrating confused reasoning, this pathetic document is an unacceptable example of unethical behavior.

Response to the defamation press release by the Vollgeld initiative committee (the press release is in German and my responses are in English).

La diffamation de la part du comité d’initiative en français, où mon article est jugé « bidon ».

A Macroeconomic Analysis: Sovereign Money Reforms and Welfare (2018), written with Elena Perazzi

This paper analyzes the redistribution impact of sovereign money reforms in a simple infinite-horizon open-economy model calibrated to the Swiss economy. While we consider several policy experiments, we find that there is a key trade-off between a reduction in distortionary labor taxes and an increase in the opportunity cost of holding money. However, in the proposed Swiss reform it is the latter cost that dominates and we find that the reform unambiguously lowers welfare.

Media

Vox article

Interview Swissinfo, 24.4.2018, français, deutsch, italiano

Interview Agéfi, 28.6.2017

Monnaie pleine: une initiative trop complexe et pas mûre (Le Temps, 25.10.2016)

Débat Forum, RTS 9.12.2017

Useful links:

http://www.admin.ch/gov/en/start/documentation/media-releases.msg-id-64444.html, http://www.niepelt.ch/tag/vollgeld/, http://vollgeld-initiative.com/index.html