The European Central Bank: Lender of Last Resort in the Government Bond Markets?

16 Pages Posted: 15 Sep 2011

See all articles by Paul De Grauwe

Paul De Grauwe

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: September 15, 2011

Abstract

The sovereign debt crisis has made it clear that central banking is more than keeping inflation low. Central banks are also responsible for financial stability. An essential tool in maintaining financial stability is provided by the capacity of the central bank to be the lender of last resort in the banking system. In this paper I argue that the ECB should also be the lender of last resort in the government bond markets of the monetary union, very much like the central banks in countries that issue debt in their own currencies are. This is necessary to prevent countries from being pushed into bad equilibria by self-fulfilling fears of liquidity crises in a monetary union. I also survey the different arguments that have been formulated by opponents of the view that the ECB should be the lender of last resort in the government bond markets.

Keywords: lender of last resort, European Central Bank, moral hazard, inflation

JEL Classification: F330

Suggested Citation

De Grauwe, Paul, The European Central Bank: Lender of Last Resort in the Government Bond Markets? (September 15, 2011). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 3569. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1927783

Paul De Grauwe (Contact Author)

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

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