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Government Asset and Liability Management in a Era of Vanishing Public Debt

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  • Bohn, Henning

Abstract

The paper examines alternative options for managing public debt and public assets in a government balance sheet framework that includes the Treasury, the Federal Reserve, and Social Security. Even after September 11, U.S. fiscal policy is on a trajectory to accumulate substantial "uncommitted funds." The paper examines how such funds should be invested. I conclude that high-quality fixed-income securities are the best benchmark and that Social Security is the most appropriate government asset manager. The analysis of policy alternatives reveals a trilemma between maintaining a liquid Treasury market, minimizing rent seeking, and facilitating intergenerational risk sharing.

Suggested Citation

  • Bohn, Henning, 2002. "Government Asset and Liability Management in a Era of Vanishing Public Debt," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 34(3), pages 887-933, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:mcb:jmoncb:v:34:y:2002:i:3:p:887-933
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    1. Henning Bohn, "undated". "Budget Balance Through Revenue or Spending Adjustments ? Some Historical Evidence for the United States (Reprint 013)," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 03-91, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
    2. Feldstein, Martin, 1996. "The Missing Piece in Policy Analysis: Social Security Reform," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 1-14, May.
    3. Douglas W. Elmendorf & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 2000. "Social Security Reform and National Saving in an Era of Budget Surpluses," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 31(2), pages 1-72.
    4. Michael J. Fleming, 2000. "The benchmark U.S. Treasury market: recent performance and possible alternatives," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Apr, pages 129-145.
    5. 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.
    6. Barro, Robert J, 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 940-971, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Udaibir S. Das & Yinqiu Lu & Michael G. Papaioannou & Iva Petrova, 2013. "Sovereign Risk and Asset and Liability Management—Conceptual Issues," Journal of Reviews on Global Economics, Lifescience Global, vol. 2, pages 330-355.
    2. Lassila, Jukka & Valkonen, Timo, 2008. "Population ageing and fiscal sustainability in Finland : a stochastic analysis," Research Discussion Papers 28/2008, Bank of Finland.

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