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ABS Inflows to the United States and the Global Financial Crisis

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  • Carol Bertaut
  • Laurie Pounder DeMarco
  • Steven B. Kamin
  • Ralph W. Tryon

Abstract

The "global saving glut" (GSG) hypothesis argues that the surge in capital inflows from emerging market economies to the United States led to significant declines in long-term interest rates in the United States and other industrial economies. In turn, these lower interest rates, when combined with both innovations and deficiencies of the U.S. credit market, are believed to have contributed to the U.S. housing bubble and to the buildup in financial vulnerabilities that led to the financial crisis. Because the GSG countries for the most part restricted their U.S. purchases to Treasuries and Agency debt, their provision of savings to ultimately risky subprime mortgage borrowers was necessarily indirect, pushing down yields on safe assets and increasing the appetite for alternative investments on the part of other investors. We present a more complete picture of how capital flows contributed to the crisis, drawing attention to the sizable inflows from European investors into U.S. private-label asset-backed securities (ABS), including mortgage-backed securities and other structured investment products. By adding to domestic demand for private-label ABS, substantial foreign acquisitions of these securities contributed to the decline in their spreads over Treasury yields. Through a combination of empirical estimation and model simulation, we verify that both GSG inflows into Treasuries and Agencies, as well as European acquisitions of ABS, played a role in contributing to downward pressures on U.S. interest rates.

Suggested Citation

  • Carol Bertaut & Laurie Pounder DeMarco & Steven B. Kamin & Ralph W. Tryon, 2011. "ABS Inflows to the United States and the Global Financial Crisis," NBER Working Papers 17350, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17350
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    Cited by:

    1. Gourinchas, Pierre-Olivier & Rey, Hélène & Truempler, Kai, 2012. "The financial crisis and the geography of wealth transfers," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 266-283.
    2. Beltran, Daniel O. & Kretchmer, Maxwell & Marquez, Jaime & Thomas, Charles P., 2013. "Foreign holdings of U.S. Treasuries and U.S. Treasury yields," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 1120-1143.
    3. Thomas Goda & Özlem Onaran & Engelbert Stockhammer, 2014. "A case for redistribution? Income inequality and wealth concentration in the recent crisis," DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO CIEF 012186, UNIVERSIDAD EAFIT.
    4. 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.
    5. Bertaut, Carol & DeMarco, Laurie Pounder & Kamin, Steven & Tryon, Ralph, 2012. "ABS inflows to the United States and the global financial crisis," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 219-234.
    6. Gary B. Gorton, 2016. "The History and Economics of Safe Assets," NBER Working Papers 22210, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Joshua Gallin, 2013. "Shadow Banking and the Funding of the Nonfinancial Sector," NBER Chapters,in: Measuring Wealth and Financial Intermediation and Their Links to the Real Economy, pages 89-123 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    JEL classification:

    • F3 - International Economics - - International Finance
    • G1 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets

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