On Tuesday Nov 10 there will be a conference in Chicago on "The $13 Trillion Question: Managing the U.S. Government’s Debt" hosted by the Initiative on Global Markets at Chicago Booth, and the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy at Brookings. (The Brookings announcement here.)
Robin Greenwood will present "The Optimal Maturity of Government Debt and Debt Management Conflicts between the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve" arguing that the Fed and Treasury are working to cross-purposes -- the Fed buys what the Treasury sells -- and that the government should go after low rates on long term bonds rather than the budget insurance of issuing long term bonds.
(The government faces the same decision a homeowner does: borrow at near-zero floating rates, but maybe rates shoot up and so do your payments, or borrow long at 2% rates, and pay more if rates don't go up. Robin and Larry favor the former. I'm more risk averse. Maybe living in California has sensitized me that just because you haven't seen an earthquake recently doesn't mean you shouldn't buy earthquake insurance. But it's a good argument to have qualitatively -- what's the risk, and what's the reward.)
I will present "A new structure for Federal Debt," arguing for an overhaul of which instruments the Treasury issues, to make them more useful for financial markets and financial stability as well as for government borrowing and risk management. (Earlier blog post about this paper here.)
There will be extensive discussion and broader issues, and (the big draw) a panel of Seth Carpenter, Charles Evans, and Sara Sprung, moderated by David Wessel.
The conference is by invitation, but you can still sign up here until they run out of room, or email Jennifer (dot) Williams at chicagobooth (dot) edu. It will also be viewable by live webcast, link here, starting 1:30 central.
Update: Video of the event here.
Session I - The Optimal Maturity of Government Debt and Debt Management Conflicts between the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve
Robin Greenwood, George Gund Professor of Finance and Banking, Harvard Business School
Samuel G. Hanson, Assistant Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School
Guido Lorenzoni, Breen Family Professor, Northwestern University
Austan Goolsbee, Robert P. Gwinn Professor of Economics, University of Chicago Booth School of Business
Session II - A New Structure for U.S. Federal Debt
John H. Cochrane, Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution and Distinguished Senior Fellow, University of Chicago Booth School of Business
James J. McAndrews, Executive Vice President, Federal Reserve Bank of New York
Anil K Kashyap, Edward Eagle Brown Professor of Economics and Finance, University of Chicago Booth School of Business
Session III - Panel Discussion
Seth B. Carpenter, Assistant Secretary for Financial Markets, Department of the Treasury
Charles Evans, President and Chief Executive Officer, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
Sara Sprung, Managing Director, Neuberger Berman
David Wessel, Director, The Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy, Brookings Institution