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A Model of the Safe Asset Mechanism (SAM): Safety Traps and Economic Policy

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  • Ricardo J. Caballero
  • Emmanuel Farhi

Abstract

The global economy has a chronic shortage of safe assets which lies behind many recent macroeconomic imbalances. This paper provides a simple model of the Safe Asset Mechanism (SAM), its recessionary safety traps, and its policy antidotes. Safety traps share many common features with conventional liquidity traps, but also exhibit important differences, in particular with respect to their reaction to policy packages. In general, policy-puts (such as QE1, LTRO, fiscal policy, etc.) that support future bad states of the economy play a central role in the SAM environment, while policy-calls that support the good states of the recovery (e.g., some aspects of forward guidance) are less powerful. Public debt plays a central role in SAM as long as the government has spare fiscal capacity to back safe asset production.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18737.

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Date of creation: Jan 2013
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18737

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  1. Gary Gorton & Andrew Metrick, 2009. "Securitized Banking and the Run on Repo," Yale School of Management Working Papers amz2358, Yale School of Management, revised 01 Sep 2009.
  2. Veronica Guerrieri & Guido Lorenzoni, 2011. "Credit Crises, Precautionary Savings, and the Liquidity Trap," NBER Working Papers 17583, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Lawrence Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo, 2009. "When is the government spending multiplier large?," NBER Working Papers 15394, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Arvind Krishnamurthy & Annette Vissing-Jorgensen, 2012. "The Aggregate Demand for Treasury Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 120(2), pages 233 - 267.
  5. Gauti B. Eggertsson & Paul Krugman, 2012. "Debt, Deleveraging, and the Liquidity Trap: A Fisher-Minsky-Koo Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(3), pages 1469-1513.
  6. Bansal, Ravi & Coleman, Wilbur John, II, 1996. "A Monetary Explanation of the Equity Premium, Term Premium, and Risk-Free Rate Puzzles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(6), pages 1135-71, December.
  7. Jeremy C. Stein, 2012. "Monetary Policy as Financial Stability Regulation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(1), pages 57-95.
  8. Holmstrom, B & Tirole, J, 1996. "Private and Public Supply of Liquidity," Working papers 96-21, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  9. Anton Korinek & Alp Simsek, 2014. "Liquidity Trap and Excessive Leverage," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 1410, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
  10. Gary B. Gorton & Guillermo Ordoñez, 2013. "The Supply and Demand for Safe Assets," NBER Working Papers 18732, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Emmanuel Farhi & Iván Werning, 2012. "Fiscal Multipliers: Liquidity Traps and Currency Unions," NBER Working Papers 18381, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Alejandro Justiniano & Giorgio E. Primiceri & Andrea Tambalotti, 2013. "The Effects of the Saving and Banking Glut on the U.S. Economy," NBER Chapters, in: NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2013, pages 52-67 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Andreas Steiner, 2013. "A Tale of Two Deficits: Public Budget Balance of Reserve Currency Countries," Working Papers 97, Institute of Empirical Economic Research.
  3. Anton Korinek & Alp Simsek, 2014. "Liquidity Trap and Excessive Leverage," NBER Working Papers 19970, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. de la Torre, Augusto & Ize, Alain, 2013. "The foundations of macroprudential regulation : a conceptual roadmap," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6575, The World Bank.

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