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The Supply and Demand for Safe Assets

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  • Gary B. Gorton
  • Guillermo Ordoñez

Abstract

Safe assets are demanded to smooth consumption across states (both intertemporally and in cross-section). Some of these assets are supplied publicly (government bonds) and some are created and supplied privately (such as mortgagebacked securities and asset-backed securities). Private assets are created endogenously when the supply of government bonds is low. Private assets are used as collateral and come in heterogeneous quality. Financial fragility is the probability that a large amount of private assets are examined, some are found to be of low quality and then some firms cannot get loans. We characterize the government’s optimal supply of government bonds when considering their effects on the creation of private assets and on economy-wide fragility. We show that monetary and macroprudential policies cannot be run in isolation. When there are too many private assets the government should operate a Bond Exchange Facility that exchanges private assets for public safe assets.

Suggested Citation

  • Gary B. Gorton & Guillermo Ordoñez, 2013. "The Supply and Demand for Safe Assets," NBER Working Papers 18732, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18732
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E0 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General
    • E02 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - Institutions and the Macroeconomy
    • E2 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment
    • E3 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E4 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates
    • E41 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Demand for Money
    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G2 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services

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