Discussion paper

DP11317 The Sovereign-Bank Diabolic Loop and ESBies

We propose a simple model of the sovereign-bank diabolic loop, and establish four results. First, the diabolic loop can be avoided by restricting banks' domestic sovereign exposures relative to their equity. Second, equity requirements can be lowered if banks only hold senior domestic sovereign debt. Third, such requirements shrink even further if banks only hold the senior tranche of an internationally diversified sovereign portfolio - known as ESBies in the euro-area context. Finally, ESBies generate more safe assets than domestic debt tranching alone; and, insofar as the diabolic loop is defused, the junior tranche generated by the securitization is itself risk-free.


Vayanos, D, M Brunnermeier, M Pagano, D Thesmar, L Garicano, P Lane, T Santos and S Van Nieuwerburgh (2016), ‘DP11317 The Sovereign-Bank Diabolic Loop and ESBies‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 11317. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp11317