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The Safe-Asset Share

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  • Gary Gorton
  • Stefan Lewellen
  • Andrew Metrick

Abstract

We document that the percentage of all U.S. assets that are "safe" has remained stable at about 33 percent since 1952. This stable ratio is a rare example of calm in a rapidly changing financial world. Over the same time period, the ratio of U.S. assets to GDP has increased by a factor of 2.5, and the main supplier of safe financial debt has shifted from commercial banks to the "shadow banking system." We analyze this pattern of stylized facts and offer some tentative conclusions about the composition of the safe-asset share and its role within the overall economy.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.102.3.101
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 102 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 (May)
Pages: 101-06

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:102:y:2012:i:3:p:101-06

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  1. Moritz Schularick & Alan M. Taylor, 2009. "Credit Booms Gone Bust: Monetary Policy, Leverage Cycles and Financial Crises, 1870–2008," NBER Working Papers 15512, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Angel Ubide, 2013. "How to Form a More Perfect European Banking Union," Policy Briefs PB13-23, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  2. Harold L. Cole & Thomas F. Cooley, 2014. "Rating Agencies," NBER Working Papers 19972, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Michael Kumhof & Jaromir Benes, 2012. "The Chicago Plan Revisited," IMF Working Papers 12/202, International Monetary Fund.
  4. Michael Andreasch & Pirmin Fessler & Martin Schürz, 2012. "Savings Deposits in Austria – A Safety Net in Times of Crisis," Monetary Policy & the Economy, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), issue 2, pages 81–95.
  5. Thomas Philippon, 2012. "Has the U.S. Finance Industry Become Less Efficient? On the Theory and Measurement of Financial Intermediation," NBER Working Papers 18077, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. G. Chiesa, 2014. "Safe Assets’ Scarcity, Liquidity and Spreads," Working Papers wp927, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.

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