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A Model of the Safe Asset Mechanism (SAM): Safety Traps and Economic Policy

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  • Ricardo J. Caballero
  • Emmanuel Farhi

Abstract

The global economy has a chronic shortage of safe assets which lies behind many recent macroeconomic imbalances. This paper provides a simple model of the Safe Asset Mechanism (SAM), its recessionary safety traps, and its policy antidotes. Safety traps share many common features with conventional liquidity traps, but also exhibit important differences, in particular with respect to their reaction to policy packages. In general, policy-puts (such as QE1, LTRO, fiscal policy, etc.) that support future bad states of the economy play a central role in the SAM environment, while policy-calls that support the good states of the recovery (e.g., some aspects of forward guidance) are less powerful. Public debt plays a central role in SAM as long as the government has spare fiscal capacity to back safe asset production.

Suggested Citation

  • Ricardo J. Caballero & Emmanuel Farhi, 2013. "A Model of the Safe Asset Mechanism (SAM): Safety Traps and Economic Policy," NBER Working Papers 18737, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18737 Note: EFG IFM ME
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Alejandro Justiniano & Giorgio E. Primiceri & Andrea Tambalotti, 2013. "The Effects of the Saving and Banking Glut on the U.S. Economy," NBER Chapters,in: NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2013, pages 52-67 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Gregory Thwaites, 2014. "Why are real interest rates so low? Secular stagnation and the relative price of investment goods," Discussion Papers 1428, Centre for Macroeconomics (CFM).
    3. Hanson, Samuel G. & Shleifer, Andrei & Stein, Jeremy C. & Vishny, Robert W., 2015. "Banks as patient fixed-income investors," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(3), pages 449-469.
    4. Enrico Perotti & Rafael Matta, 2015. "Insecure Debt," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 15-035/IV/DSF88, Tinbergen Institute.
    5. Sergey Chernenko & Samuel G. Hanson & Adi Sunderam, 2014. "The Rise and Fall of Demand for Securitizations," NBER Working Papers 20777, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Svetlozar Rachev & Frank Fabozzi, 2016. "Financial market with no riskless (safe) asset," Papers 1612.02112, arXiv.org.
    7. 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.
    8. Alan Moreira & Alexi Savov, 2014. "The Macroeconomics of Shadow Banking," NBER Working Papers 20335, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Matta, Rafael & Perotti, Enrico C, 2015. "Insecure Debt," CEPR Discussion Papers 10505, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Anton Korinek & Alp Simsek, 2016. "Liquidity Trap and Excessive Leverage," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 699-738.
    11. Itamar Drechsler & Alexi Savov & Philipp Schnabl, 2014. "A Model of Monetary Policy and Risk Premia," NBER Working Papers 20141, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Ricardo J Caballero & Emmanuel Farhi, "undated". "The Safety Trap," Working Paper 233766, Harvard University OpenScholar.
    13. de la Torre, Augusto & Ize, Alain, 2013. "The foundations of macroprudential regulation : a conceptual roadmap," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6575, The World Bank.
    14. Andreas Steiner, 2013. "A Tale of Two Deficits: Public Budget Balance of Reserve Currency Countries," Working Papers 97, Institute of Empirical Economic Research, Osnabrueck University.
    15. Christoph Große Steffen, 2014. "The Safe Asset Controversy: Policy Implications after the Crisis," DIW Roundup: Politik im Fokus 3, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    16. Borio, Claudio, 2014. "The international monetary and financial system: its Achilles heel and what to do about it," Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper 203, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
    17. Enrico Perotti & Toni Ahnert, 2015. "Cheap but Flighty: How Global Imbalances create Financial Fragility," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 15-036/IV/DSF89, Tinbergen Institute.
    18. Jean Tirole, 2013. "Comment on "Pledgability and Liquidity: A New Monetarist Model of Financial and Macroeconomic Activity"," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2013, Volume 28, pages 279-286 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Rocheteau, Guillaume & Rodriguez-Lopez, Antonio, 2014. "Liquidity provision, interest rates, and unemployment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 80-101.
    20. Patricia Gómez-González, 2015. "Financial innovation in sovereign borrowing and public provision of liquidity," Working Papers 1511, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
    21. Thwaites, Gregory, 2014. "Why are real interest rates so low? Secular stagnation and the relative price of investment goods," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 86328, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    22. repec:wsi:ijtafx:v:20:y:2017:i:08:n:s0219024917500546 is not listed on IDEAS
    23. repec:ijc:ijcjou:y:2017:q:3:a:1 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E4 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates
    • E5 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • E63 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Comparative or Joint Analysis of Fiscal and Monetary Policy; Stabilization; Treasury Policy
    • F3 - International Economics - - International Finance
    • F33 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Monetary Arrangements and Institutions
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics
    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • G1 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation

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