Competition and Finance offers a new, unified treatment of the fields of financial and monetary economics. The first part deals with financial economics and begins by providing a coherent and up-to-date analysis of contract design and capital structure. It integrates recent developments in agency theory, information economics and related fields into a unified financial theory of the firm. It then turns to financial intermediation, and explains why financial intermediaries exist and take the forms they do. The simpler forms of financial intermediary - brokers and mutual funds - are then covered in one chapter each. These are followed by three chapters that set out a new treatment of the economics of banking. These provide an up-to-date theory of the banking firm, but they also cover a variety of other banking issues - including, among others, the structure of the banking industry, a new analysis of free banking, a review of recent theoretical work on banking stability, and an assessment of the need for central banking. The next chapter addresses issues related to exchange media and payment systems, and is followed by a series of chapters on monetary economics. One chapter each is devoted to: the economics of the unit of account, including currency competition, the mechanics of convertible currency systems; gold and bimetallic standards; commodity-basket commodity standards; and the economics of inflation. These chapters cover both theory and empirical evidence, and a number of appendices also cover additional issues such as real-bills systems, the construction of price indices, and tabular standards. A final chapter uses the framework developed in the book to assess present-day systems of central banking and flat currency, and to offer some proposals for financial and monetary reform.