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Sovereign Default and Liquidity: the Case for a World Safe Asset

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  • François Le Grand

    (EMLYON Business School)

  • Xavier Ragot

    (Observatoire français des conjonctures économiques)

Abstract

We present a general equilibrium model of the world economy where sovereigns face idiosyncratic risks and can default on their debt. In this model, the world interest rate is determined through the global financial market equilibrium, the amount of safe asset is endogenous and determines international risk sharing. Non-trivial multiple equilibria naturally arise, due to the endogeneity of the interest rate. These equilibria can be ranked according to their aggregate welfare, such that equilibria with a higher quantity of safe assets correspond to higher welfare. Due to a shortage in the safe asset supply, even the equilibrium with the highest welfare is not constrained-efficient. Finally, we prove that a world fund issuing a safe asset can reach the constrained-efficient aggregate welfare. With a standard calibration, the size of the fund is found to be around 4.1% of the world GDP. Its relationship with the Special Drawing Rights of the IMF is discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • François Le Grand & Xavier Ragot, 2017. "Sovereign Default and Liquidity: the Case for a World Safe Asset," Sciences Po publications 2017-05, Sciences Po.
  • Handle: RePEc:spo:wpmain:info:hdl:2441/3jhmd4ib388m99gnolvi8klga2
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Xavier Ragot & Francois Le Grand, 2017. "Optimal Fiscal Policy with Heterogeneous Agents and Aggregate Shocks," 2017 Meeting Papers 969, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Ricardo Lagos & Randall Wright, 2005. "A Unified Framework for Monetary Theory and Policy Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(3), pages 463-484, June.
    3. Satyajit Chatterjee & Dean Corbae & Makoto Nakajima & José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 2007. "A Quantitative Theory of Unsecured Consumer Credit with Risk of Default," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(6), pages 1525-1589, November.
    4. Feldman, Mark & Gilles, Christian, 1985. "An expository note on individual risk without aggregate uncertainty," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 26-32, February.
    5. Athreya, Kartik B., 2002. "Welfare implications of the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1999," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(8), pages 1567-1595, November.
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