The scale of safe assets suggests a structural demand for a safe wealth share beyond transaction and liquidity roles. We study how investors achieve a reference wealth level by combining self-insurance and contingent liquidation of investment. Intermediaries improve upon autarky, insuring investors with poor self-insurance and limiting liquidation.
We analyze how a wealth shift to emerging countries may lead to instability in developed countries. Investors exposed to expropriation risk are willing to pay a safety premium to invest in countries with good property rights.