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Optimal portfolio allocation in a world without Treasury securities

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  • Antulio N. Bomfim
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    Abstract

    If current projections of future budget surpluses materialize, investing in Treasury securities--an asset class with which investors have long been familiar--could eventually become a thing of the past. In this paper, I examine the extent to which investors' portfolio allocation decisions are likely to be affected by the retirement of all federal government debt. The analysis suggests only small effects for most investors, especially, as is effectively the case for many institutional investors, when a no short sale constraint is in place. Under such circumstances, highly conservative investors--whose portfolios have risk-return characteristics akin to money market instruments--and very aggressive investors--who hold mostly equities--stand to be the least affected by the removal of Treasuries from the pool of investable assets. The analysis abstracts from indirect beneficial effects on investors from a Treasury debt payoff, such as the potential for greater productivity growth (and faster wealth accumulation) as more resources are freed up for investment in the private sector.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2001-11.

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    Date of creation: 2001
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    Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2001-11

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    Keywords: Debts; Public ; Corporate bonds ; Government securities;

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    1. B. Douglas Bernheim, 1987. "Ricardian Equivalence: An Evaluation of Theory and Evidence," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1987, Volume 2, pages 263-316 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Vincent Reinhart & Brian Sack, 2000. "The Economic Consequences of Disappearing Government Debt," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 31(2), pages 163-220.
    3. R. Mehra & E. Prescott, 2010. "The equity premium: a puzzle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1401, David K. Levine.
    4. Hall, Robert E, 1988. "Intertemporal Substitution in Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(2), pages 339-57, April.
    5. Hansen, Lars Peter & Jagannathan, Ravi, 1991. "Implications of Security Market Data for Models of Dynamic Economies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(2), pages 225-62, April.
    6. Friend, Irwin & Blume, Marshall E, 1975. "The Demand for Risky Assets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(5), pages 900-922, December.
    7. Grossman, Sanford J. & Shiller, Robert J., 1982. "Consumption correlatedness and risk measurement in economies with non-traded assets and heterogeneous information," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 195-210, July.
    8. Frankel, Jeffrey A, 1985. "Portfolio Crowding-out, Empirically Estimated," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(5), pages 1041-65, Supp..
    9. William F. Sharpe, 1964. "Capital Asset Prices: A Theory Of Market Equilibrium Under Conditions Of Risk," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 19(3), pages 425-442, 09.
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