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The Supply and Demand for Safe Assets

Author

Listed:
  • Gary B. Gorton
  • Guillermo Ordoñez

Abstract

There is a demand for safe assets, either government bonds or private substitutes, for use as collateral. Government bonds are safe assets, given the government's power to tax, but their supply is driven by fiscal considerations, and does not necessarily meet the private demand for safe assets. Unlike the government, the private sector cannot produce riskless collateral. When the private sector reaches its limit (the quality of private collateral), government bonds are net wealth, up to the government's own limits (taxation capacity). The economy is fragile to the extent that privately-produced safe assets are relied upon. In a crisis, government bonds can replace private assets that do not sustain borrowing anymore, raising welfare.

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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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
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    7. Evans, Paul, 1987. "Do budget deficits raise nominal interest rates? : Evidence from six countries," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 281-300, September.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. The safe asset girdle on liquidity
      by SFF in policy economics on 2016-09-23 05:51:03

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    Cited by:

    1. Ricardo J. Caballero & Emmanuel Farhi, 2013. "A Model of the Safe Asset Mechanism (SAM): Safety Traps and Economic Policy," Working Paper 70936, Harvard University OpenScholar.
    2. Han, Han, 2015. "Over-the-Counter Markets, Intermediation, and Monetary Policy," MPRA Paper 68709, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Robert J. Barro & Jesús Fernández-Villaverde & Oren Levintal & Andrew Mollerus, 2014. "Safe Assets," NBER Working Papers 20652, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
      • Barro, Robert J. & Fern�ndez-Villaverde, Jes�s & Levintal, Oren & Mollerus, Andrew, 2017. "Safe Assets," CEPR Discussion Papers 12043, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Matteo Maggiori & Emmanuel Farhi, 2015. "A Model of the International Monetary System," Working Paper 349586, Harvard University OpenScholar.
    5. Chemla, Gilles & Hennessy, Christopher, 2016. "Government as Borrower of First Resort," CEPR Discussion Papers 11362, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Soren Radde & Wei Cui, 2015. "Search-Based Endogenous Illiquidity and the Macroeconomy," 2015 Meeting Papers 546, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    7. Xiong, Qizhou, 2017. "The premium of government debt: Disentangling safety and liquidity," IWH Discussion Papers 11/2017, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    8. Dániel Horváth & Róbert Szini, 2015. "The safety trap – the financial market and macroeconomic consequences of the scarcity of safe assets," Financial and Economic Review, Magyar Nemzeti Bank (Central Bank of Hungary), vol. 14(1), pages 111-138.
    9. Engler, Philipp & Große Steffen, Christoph, 2016. "Sovereign risk, interbank freezes, and aggregate fluctuations," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 34-61.
    10. Robert J. Barro, 2014. "Safe Assets," Working Papers 2014-28, Economic Research Institute, Bank of Korea.
    11. Hart, Oliver & Zingales, Luigi, 2014. "Banks Are Where The Liquidity Is," CEPR Discussion Papers 10017, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    12. Hiroshi Ugai, 2015. "Transmission Channels and Welfare Implications of Unconventional Monetary Easing Policy in Japan," UTokyo Price Project Working Paper Series 060, University of Tokyo, Graduate School of Economics, revised Dec 2015.
    13. Hiroshi Ugai, 2015. "Transmission Channels and Welfare Implications of Unconventional Monetary Easing Policy in Japan," Working Papers e102, Tokyo Center for Economic Research.
    14. Sylvia Xiao & Randall Wright & Guillaume Rocheteau, 2017. "Open Market Operations," 2017 Meeting Papers 345, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    15. Chemla, Gilles & Hennessy, Christopher A., 2016. "Government as borrower of first resort," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 1-16.
    16. Wei Cui & Sören Radde, 2014. "Search-Based Endogenous Illiquidity and the Macroeconomy," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1367, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    17. Rocheteau, Guillaume & Rodriguez-Lopez, Antonio, 2014. "Liquidity provision, interest rates, and unemployment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 80-101.
    18. Gary B. Gorton, 2016. "The History and Economics of Safe Assets," NBER Working Papers 22210, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    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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