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The Safe-Asset Share

Author

Listed:
  • 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Gary Gorton & Stefan Lewellen & Andrew Metrick, 2012. "The Safe-Asset Share," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(3), pages 101-106, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:102:y:2012:i:3:p:101-06
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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.102.3.101
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Robin Greenwood & Samuel G. Hanson & Jeremy C. Stein, 2015. "A Comparative-Advantage Approach to Government Debt Maturity," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 70(4), pages 1683-1722, August.
    2. Moritz Schularick & Alan M. Taylor, 2012. "Credit Booms Gone Bust: Monetary Policy, Leverage Cycles, and Financial Crises, 1870-2008," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(2), pages 1029-1061, April.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E02 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - Institutions and the Macroeconomy
    • E41 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Demand for Money
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • G2 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages

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