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The European Central Bank: Lender of Last Resort in the Government Bond Markets?


  • Paul De Grauwe


The sovereign debt crisis has made it clear that central banking is more than keeping inflation low. Central banks are also responsible for financial stability. An essential tool in maintaining financial stability is provided by the capacity of the central bank to be the lender of last resort in the banking system. In this paper I argue that the ECB should also be the lender of last resort in the government bond markets of the monetary union, very much like the central banks in countries that issue debt in their own currencies are. This is necessary to prevent countries from being pushed into bad equilibria by self-fulfilling fears of liquidity crises in a monetary union. I also survey the different arguments that have been formulated by opponents of the view that the ECB should be the lender of last resort in the government bond markets.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul De Grauwe, 2011. "The European Central Bank: Lender of Last Resort in the Government Bond Markets?," CESifo Working Paper Series 3569, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3569

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    lender of last resort; European Central Bank; moral hazard; inflation;

    JEL classification:

    • F33 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Monetary Arrangements and Institutions


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