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What is Driving the Return Spread Between “Safe” and “Risky” Assets?
Real interest rates on U.S. government bonds have declined persistently since the 1980s. U.S. government bonds are backed by the full faith and credit of the federal government and, hence, are considered one of the safest assets because the risk of default is extremely low. More broadly, interest rates on other safe assets, such as highly rated corporations, have also declined.
Market-Function Asset Purchases
This paper investigates the goals, costs, and benefits of official-sector purchases of government securities for the purpose of restoring market functionality. We explore the design of market-function purchase programs, including their communication, triggers, operational protocols, exit, and wind-down strategies. We further discuss whether, under some circumstances, fiscal buybacks might be a useful alternative or complement to central-bank market-function purchase programs, and how these buybacks could be funded. The use of fiscal buybacks to support market functionality can be aligned with ...