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Jel Classification:H63 

Report
Federal Reserve Participation in Public Treasury Offerings

This paper describes the evolution of Federal Reserve participation in public Treasury offerings. It covers the pre-1935 period, when the Fed participated on an equal footing with other investors in exchange offerings priced by Treasury officials, to its present-day practice of reinvesting the proceeds of maturing securities with “add-ons” priced in public auctions in which the Fed does not participate. The paper describes how the Federal Reserve System adapted its operating procedures to comply with the 1935 limitations on its Treasury purchases, how it modified its operating procedures ...
Staff Reports , Paper 906

Report
Managing the Treasury Yield Curve in the 1940s

This paper examines the efforts of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) to first control, and later decontrol, the level and shape of the Treasury yield curve in the 1940s. The paper begins with a brief review of monetary policy in 1938 and a description of the period between September 1939 and December 1941, when the idea of maintaining a fixed yield curve first appeared. It then discusses the financing of U.S. participation in World War II and the experience with maintaining a fixed curve. The paper concludes with a discussion of how the FOMC regained control of monetary policy in the ...
Staff Reports , Paper 913

Working Paper
Distributional Incentives in an Equilibrium Model of Domestic Sovereign Default

Europe?s debt crisis resembles historical episodes of outright default on domestic public debt about which little research exists. This paper proposes a theory of domestic sovereign default based on distributional incentives affecting the welfare of risk-averse debt and non-debtholders. A utilitarian government cannot sustain debt if default is costless. If default is costly, debt with default risk is sustainable, and debt falls as the concentration of debt ownership rises. A government favoring bondholders can also sustain debt, with debt rising as ownership becomes more concentrated. These ...
Working Papers , Paper 16-23

Working Paper
Continuous Markov equilibria with quasi-geometric discounting

We prove that the standard quasi-geometric discounting model used in dynamic consumer theory and political economics does not possess continuous Markov perfect equilibria (MPE) if there is a strictly positive lower bound on wealth. We also show that, at points of discontinuity, the decision maker strictly prefers lotteries over the next period's assets. We then extend the standard model to have lotteries and establish the existence of an MPE with continuous decision rules. The models with and without lotteries are numerically compared, and it is shown that the model with lotteries behaves ...
Working Papers , Paper 14-6

Working Paper
History Remembered: Optimal Sovereign Default on Domestic and External Debt

Infrequent but turbulent overt sovereign defaults on domestic creditors are a ?for- gotten history? in macroeconomics. We propose a heterogeneous-agents model in which the government chooses optimal debt and default on domestic and foreign creditors by balancing distributional incentives versus the social value of debt for self-insurance, liquidity, and risk-sharing. A rich feedback mechanism links debt issuance, the distribution of debt holdings, the default decision, and risk premia. Calibrated to Eurozone data, the model is consistent with key long-run and debt-crisis statistics. Defaults ...
Working Papers , Paper 19-31

Working Paper
Optimal Domestic (and External) Sovereign Default

Infrequent but turbulent episodes of outright sovereign default on domestic creditors are considered a ?forgotten history? in macroeconomics. We propose a heterogeneous- agents model in which optimal debt and default on domestic and foreign creditors are driven by distributional incentives and endogenous default costs due to value of debt for self-insurance, liquidity, and risk-sharing. The government?s aim to redistribute resources across agents and through time in response to uninsurable shocks produces a rich dynamic feedback mechanism linking debt issuance, the distribution of government ...
Working Papers , Paper 17-4

Working Paper
The Stock of External Sovereign Debt: Can We Take the Data at ‘Face Value’?

The stock of sovereign debt is typically measured at face value. Defined as the undiscounted sum of future principal repayments, face values are misleading when debts are issued with different contractual forms or maturities. In this paper, we construct alternative measures of the stock of external sovereign debt for 100 developing countries from 1979 through 2006 that correct for differences in contractual form and maturity. We show that our alternative measures: (1) paint a very different quantitative, and in some cases also qualitative, picture of the stock of developing country external ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2014-5

Working Paper
Is Inflation Default? The Role of Information in Debt Crises

We consider a two-period Bayesian trading game where in each period informed agents decide whether to buy an asset ("government debt") after observing an idiosyncratic signal about the prospects of default. While second-period buyers only need to forecast default, first-period buyers pass the asset to the new agents in the secondary market, and thus need to form beliefs about the price that will prevail at that stage. We provide conditions such that coarser information in the hands of second-period agents makes the price of debt more resilient to bad shocks not only in the last period, ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2017-6

Working Paper
Domestic Debt and Sovereign Defaults

This paper examines how domestic holdings of government debt affect sovereign default risk and government debt management. I develop a dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model with both external and domestic debt that endogenously generates output contraction upon default. Domestic holdings of government debt weaken investors' balance sheets and induce a contraction of credit and output upon default. I calibrate the model to the Argentinean economy and show that the model reproduces key empirical moments. Introducing domestic debt also yields relevant normative implications. While ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 1153

Working Paper
The Anatomy of Financial Vulnerabilities and Crises

We extend the framework used in Aikman, Kiley, Lee, Palumbo, and Warusawitharana (2015) that maps vulnerabilities in the U.S. financial system to a broader set of advanced and emerging economies. Our extension tracks a broader set of vulnerabilities and, therefore, captures signs of different types of crises. The typical anatomy of the evolution of vulnerabilities before and after a financial crisis is as follows. Pressures in asset valuations materialize, and a build-up of imbalances in the external, financial, and nonfinancial sectors follows. A financial crisis is typically followed by a ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 1191

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