IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

A Critical Analysis of the Technical Assumptions of the Standard Micro Portfolio Approach to Sovereign Debt Management

  • Hans J. Blommestein
  • Anja Hubig

This paper examines the analytical underpinnings of the standard micro portfolio approach to public debt management (PDM) that aims at minimising longer-term cash-flow based borrowing costs at an acceptable level of risk. The study concludes that two technical key assumptions need to hold for the standard micro portfolio approach to yield optimal (i.e. cost-minimising) results. We argue that these assumptions do not hold in the current borrowing environment characterized by fiscal dominance with complex links between PDM and monetary policy (MP). By using the principles of portfolio theory we demonstrate that in this borrowing environment, cost-risk optimality requires the use of a broader cost concept than employed in the standard micro portfolio approach. This new concept (referred to as effective borrowing costs) incorporates not only the cash flows of the debt portfolio itself, but also those related to primary borrowing requirements. The resulting broader cost measure includes therefore the interactions with the budget. Finally, the paper demonstrates that the standard cost-risk framework of the micro portfolio approach is nested within this new, broader cost concept.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Working Papers on Sovereign Borrowing and Public Debt Management with number 4.

in new window

Date of creation: 20 Feb 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:oec:dafaaf:4-en
Contact details of provider: Postal:
2 rue Andre Pascal, 75775 Paris Cedex 16

Phone: 33-(0)-1-45 24 82 00
Fax: 33-(0)-1-45 24 85 00
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Hans J. Blommestein & Lex H. Hoogduin & Jolanda J.W. Peeters, 2010. "Uncertainty and risk management after the Great Moderation: The role of risk (mis)management by financial institutions," Chapters in SUERF Studies, SUERF - The European Money and Finance Forum.
  2. Faraglia, Elisa & Marcet, Albert & Scott, Andrew, 2007. "Fiscal Insurance and Debt Management in OECD Economies," CEPR Discussion Papers 6539, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Emanuele Bacchiocchi & Alessandro Missale, 2005. "Managing Debt Stability," CESifo Working Paper Series 1388, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Faraglia, Elisa & Marcet, Albert & Scott, Andrew, 2008. "In Search of a Theory of Debt Management," CEPR Discussion Papers 6859, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Lustig, Hanno & Sleet, Christopher & Yeltekin, Sevin, 2008. "Fiscal hedging with nominal assets," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 710-727, May.
  6. Lex Hoogduin & Bahar Öztürk & Peter Wierts, 2010. "Public Debt Managers Behaviour: Interactions with Macro Policies," DNB Working Papers 273, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  7. Robert Barro, 1998. "Optimal Management of Indexed and Nominal Debt," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 26, Central Bank of Chile.
  8. Harry Markowitz, 1952. "Portfolio Selection," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 7(1), pages 77-91, 03.
  9. Missale, Alessandro, 1997. " Managing the Public Debt: The Optimal Taxation Approach," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(3), pages 235-65, September.
  10. John Lintner, 1965. "Security Prices, Risk, And Maximal Gains From Diversification," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 20(4), pages 587-615, December.
  11. Blommestein, Hans, 2010. "Risk Management after the Great Crash," Journal of Financial Transformation, Capco Institute, vol. 28, pages 1-19.
  12. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2010. "Growth in a Time of Debt," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 573-78, May.
  13. Henry C. Simons, 1944. "On Debt Policy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 52, pages 356.
  14. Udaibir S Das & Jay Surti & Faisal Ahmed & Michael G Papaioannou & Guilherme Pedras, 2010. "Managing Public Debt and Its Financial Stability Implications," IMF Working Papers 10/280, International Monetary Fund.
  15. Yves Nosbusch, 2008. "Interest Costs and the Optimal Maturity Structure Of Government Debt," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(527), pages 477-498, 03.
  16. George-Marios Angeletos, 2002. "Fiscal Policy with Noncontingent Debt and the Optimal Maturity Structure," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 1105-1131.
  17. Massimo Bernaschi & Alessandro Missale & Davide Vergni, 2009. "Should Governments Minimize Debt Service Cost and Risk?," UNIMI - Research Papers in Economics, Business, and Statistics unimi-1097, Universitá degli Studi di Milano.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oec:dafaaf:4-en. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.