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The Demand for Treasury Debt

Author

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  • Arvind Krishnamurthy
  • Annette Vissing-Jorgensen

Abstract

We show that the US Debt/GDP ratio is negatively correlated with the spread between corporate bond yields and Treasury bond yields. The result holds even when controlling for the default risk on corporate bonds. We argue that the corporate bond spread reflects a convenience yield that investors attribute to Treasury debt. Changes in the supply of Treasury debt trace out the demand for convenience by investors. We show that the aggregate demand curve for the convenience provided by Treasury debt is downward sloping and provide estimates of the elasticity of demand. We analyze disaggregated data from the Flow of Funds Accounts of the Federal Reserve and show that individual groups of Treasury holders also have downward sloping demand curves. Even groups with the most elastic demand curves have demand curves that are far from flat. The results have bearing for important questions in finance and macroeconomics. We discuss implications for the behavior of corporate bond spreads, interest rate swap spreads, the riskless interest rate, and the value of aggregate liquidity. We also discuss the implications of our results for the financing of the US deficit, Ricardian equivalence, and the effects of foreign central bank demand on Treasury yields.

Suggested Citation

  • Arvind Krishnamurthy & Annette Vissing-Jorgensen, 2007. "The Demand for Treasury Debt," NBER Working Papers 12881, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12881
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    Cited by:

    1. Laura Jaramillo & Yuanyan S Zhang, 2013. "Real Money Investors and Sovereign Bond Yields," IMF Working Papers 13/254, International Monetary Fund.
    2. Michael J. Fleming & Joshua V. Rosenberg, 2007. "How do treasury dealers manage their positions?," Staff Reports 299, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    3. Sa, Filipa & Wieladek, Tomasz, 2010. "Monetary policy, capital inflows and the housing boom," Bank of England working papers 405, Bank of England.
    4. Eric T. Swanson & John C. Williams, 2014. "Measuring the Effect of the Zero Lower Bound on Medium- and Longer-Term Interest Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(10), pages 3154-3185, October.
    5. Robin Greenwood & Dimitri Vayanos, 2014. "Bond Supply and Excess Bond Returns," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 27(3), pages 663-713.
    6. Jochen R. Andritzky, 2012. "Government Bonds and their Investors; What Are the Facts and Do they Matter?," IMF Working Papers 12/158, International Monetary Fund.
    7. Édouard Vidon, 2009. "Monnaies de réserve et stabilité financière internationale," Revue d'Économie Financière, Programme National Persée, vol. 94(1), pages 219-232.
    8. Robin Greenwood & Dimitri Vayanos, 2010. "Price Pressure in the Government Bond Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 585-590, May.
    9. Eric T. Swanson, 2011. "Let's Twist Again: A High-Frequency Event-study Analysis of Operation Twist and Its Implications for QE2," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 42(1 (Spring), pages 151-207.
    10. Timothy J. Kehoe & Kim J. Ruhl & Joseph B. Steinberg, 2018. "Global Imbalances and Structural Change in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 126(2), pages 761-796.
    11. Warren B. Hrunga & Jason S. Seligman, 2015. "Responses to the Financial Crisis, Treasury Debt, and the Impact on Short-Term Money Markets," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 11(1), pages 151-190, January.
    12. Jack Favilukis & Sydney C. Ludvigson & Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh, 2017. "The Macroeconomic Effects of Housing Wealth, Housing Finance, and Limited Risk Sharing in General Equilibrium," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 125(1), pages 140-223.
    13. Goda, Thomas & Lysandrou, Photis & Stewart, Chris, 2013. "The contribution of US bond demand to the US bond yield conundrum of 2004–2007: An empirical investigation," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 113-136.
    14. Brufman, Leandro & Martinez, Lisana & Artica, Rodrigo Perez, 2013. "What are the causes of the growing trend of excess savings of the corporate sector in developed countries ? an empirical analysis of three hypotheses," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6571, The World Bank.
    15. Martin Schneider & Monika Piazzesi, 2008. "Bond Positions, Expectations, and the Yield Curve," 2008 Meeting Papers 268, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    16. Sydney Ludvigson & Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh & Jack Favilukis, 2012. "Foreign Ownership of U.S. Safe Assets: Good or Bad?," 2012 Meeting Papers 297, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    17. Sally Chen & Philip Liu & Andrea M. Maechler & Chris Marsh & Sergejs Saksonovs & Hyun S Shin, 2012. "Exploring the Dynamics of Global Liquidity," IMF Working Papers 12/246, International Monetary Fund.
    18. D’Amico, Stefania & King, Thomas B., 2013. "Flow and stock effects of large-scale treasury purchases: Evidence on the importance of local supply," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(2), pages 425-448.
    19. Manmohan Singh & Zoltan Pozsar, 2011. "The Nonbank-Bank Nexus and the Shadow Banking System," IMF Working Papers 11/289, International Monetary Fund.
    20. Zoltan Pozsar, 2011. "Institutional Cash Pools and the Triffin Dilemma of the U.S. Banking System," IMF Working Papers 11/190, International Monetary Fund.
    21. Thomas Goda & Photis Lysandrou & Chris Stewart, 2011. "The contribution of us bond demand to the us bond yield conundrum of 2004 to 2007: an empirical investigation," DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO CIEF 010719, UNIVERSIDAD EAFIT.
    22. Xavier Gabaix, 2012. "Variable Rare Disasters: An Exactly Solved Framework for Ten Puzzles in Macro-Finance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(2), pages 645-700.
    23. Stefania D'Amico & Thomas B. King, 2012. "Flow and stock effects of large-scale asset purchases: evidence on the importance of local supply," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2012-44, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    24. Pérez Artica, Rodrigo & Brufman, Leandro & Martinez, Lisana, 2013. "What are the causes of the growing trend of excess savings of the corporate sector in developed countries? An empirical analysis of three hypotheses," MPRA Paper 47410, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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    JEL classification:

    • E43 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates

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