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Exorbitant Privilege and Exorbitant Duty

  • Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas

    (Associate Professor, Univeresity of California, Berkeley (

  • Helene Rey

    (Professor, London Business School)

  • Nicolas Govillot

    (Ecole des Mines)

We update and improve the Gourinchas and Rey (2007a) dataset of the historical evolution of US external assets and liabilities at market value since 1952 to include the recent crisis period. We find strong evidence of a sizeable excess return of gross assets over gross liabilities. The center country of the International Monetary System enjoys an gexorbitant privilegeh that significantly weakens its external constraint. In exchange for this gexorbitant privilegeh we document that the US provides insurance to the rest of the world, especially in times of global stress. This gexorbitant dutyh is the other side of the coin. During the 2007-2009 global financial crisis, payments from the US to the rest of the world amounted to 19 percent of US GDP. We present a stylized model that accounts for these facts.

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Paper provided by Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan in its series IMES Discussion Paper Series with number 10-E-20.

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Date of creation: Aug 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ime:imedps:10-e-20
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  1. Lane, Philip R. & Shambaugh, Jay C, 2007. "Financial Exchange Rates and International Currency Exposures," CEPR Discussion Papers 6473, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Gourinchas, Pierre-Olivier & Rey, Hélène, 2005. "International Financial Adjustment," CEPR Discussion Papers 4923, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Hassan, Tarek, 2012. "Country Size, Currency Unions, and International Asset Returns," CEPR Discussion Papers 8991, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Jaksa Cvitanic & Elyès Jouini & Semyon Malamud & Clotilde Napp, 2012. "Financial Markets Equilibrium with Heterogeneous Agents," Post-Print halshs-00488537, HAL.
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  7. Gian-Maria Milesi-Ferretti & Philip R. Lane, 1999. "The External Wealth of Nations: Measures of Foreign Assets and Liabilities for Industrial and Developing Countries," IMF Working Papers 99/115, International Monetary Fund.
  8. Ricardo J. Caballero & Emmanuel Farhi & Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, 2008. "An Equilibrium Model of "Global Imbalances" and Low Interest Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 358-93, March.
  9. Lane, Philip R. & Milesi-Ferretti, Gian Maria, 2008. "Where Did All The Borrowing Go? A Forensic Analysis of the U.S. External Position," CEPR Discussion Papers 6655, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  11. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Hélène Rey, 2007. "From World Banker to World Venture Capitalist: U.S. External Adjustment and the Exorbitant Privilege," NBER Chapters, in: G7 Current Account Imbalances: Sustainability and Adjustment, pages 11-66 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Nicholas Bloom, 2009. "The Impact of Uncertainty Shocks," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(3), pages 623-685, 05.
  13. Emi Nakamura & Jón Steinsson & Robert Barro & José Ursúa, 2013. "Crises and Recoveries in an Empirical Model of Consumption Disasters," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(3), pages 35-74, July.
  14. Enrique G. Mendoza & Vincenzo Quadrini & José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 2009. "Financial Integration, Financial Development, and Global Imbalances," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(3), pages 371-416, 06.
  15. Barro, Robert, 2006. "Rare Disasters and Asset Markets in the Twentieth Century," Scholarly Articles 3208215, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  16. Stephanie E. Curcuru & Tomas Dvorak & Francis E. Warnock, 2008. "Cross-Border Returns Differentials," NBER Working Papers 13768, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Aiyagari, S Rao, 1995. "Optimal Capital Income Taxation with Incomplete Markets, Borrowing Constraints, and Constant Discounting," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1158-75, December.
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