Discussion paper

DP13387 A Global Safe Asset for and from Emerging Market Economies

This paper examines international capital flows induced by flight-to-safety and proposes a new global safe asset. In the model domestic investors have to co-invest in a safe asset along with their physical capital. At times of crisis, investors replace the initially safe domestic government bonds with safe US Treasuries and fire-sell part of their capital. The reduction in physical capital lowers GDP and tax revenue, leading to increased default risk justifying the loss of the government bond's safe-asset status. We compare two ways to mitigate this self-fulfilling scenario. In the "buffer approach” international reserve holding reduces the severity of a crisis. In the "rechannelling approach'' flight-to-safety capital flows are rechannelled from international cross-border flows to flows across two EME asset classes. The two asset classes are the senior and junior bond of tranched portfolio of EME sovereign bonds.


Brunnermeier, M (2018), ‘DP13387 A Global Safe Asset for and from Emerging Market Economies‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 13387. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp13387