Exorbitant Privilege and Exorbitant Duty

80 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2022

See all articles by Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas

Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics; University of California, Berkeley - Economic Analysis & Policy Group; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Hélène Rey

London Business School; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: January 2022

Abstract

We provide a quarterly time series of the historical evolution of US external assets and liabilities at market value on the 1952-2016 period. The center country of the International Monetary System enjoys an "exorbitant privilege", a sizeable excess return of gross external assets over liabilities that significantly weakens its external constraint. In exchange for this "exorbitant privilege" we document that the US provides insurance to the rest of the world, especially in times of global stress. We call this the "exorbitant duty" of the hegemon. During the 2007-2009 global financial crisis, wealth transfers from the US to the rest of the world amounted to about 20% of US GDP and the dollar appreciated by 8% in real terms. We present a stylized model that accounts for these facts and also links the shrinking size of the hegemon in the world economy to the decline in the world real rate of interest.

Suggested Citation

Gourinchas, Pierre-Olivier and Rey, Helene, Exorbitant Privilege and Exorbitant Duty (January 2022). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP16944, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4026850

Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics ( email )

549 Evans Hall #3880
Berkeley, CA 94720-3880
United States

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/view/pgourinchas

University of California, Berkeley - Economic Analysis & Policy Group ( email )

Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/view/pgourinchas

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.nber.org/people/pierre-olivier_gourinchas

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/authorlist.php?ident=136737

Helene Rey

London Business School ( email )

Sussex Place
Regent's Park
London, London NW1 4SA
United Kingdom

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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