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The Effects of Quantitative Easing on Long-term Interest Rates

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  • Annette Vissing-Jorgensen

    (Kellogg School of Management, Northweste)

  • Arvind Krishnamurthy

    (Northwestern University)

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    Abstract

    We evaluate the effect of the Federal Reserve’s purchase of long-term Treasuries and other long-term bonds ("QE1" in 2008-2009 and "QE2" in 2010-2011) on interest rates. Using an event-study methodology that exploits both daily and intra-day data, we find a large and significant drop in nominal interest rates on long-term safe assets (Treasuries, Agency bonds, and highly-rated corporate bonds). This occurs mainly because there is a unique clientele for long-term safe nominal assets, and the Fed purchases reduce the supply of such assets and hence increase the equilibrium safety-premium. We find only small effects on nominal (default-adjusted) interest rates on less safe assets such as Baa corporate rates. The impact of quantitative easing on MBS rates is large when QE involves MBS purchases, but not when it involves Treasury purchases, indicating that a second main channel for QE is to affect the equilibrium price of mortgage-specific risk. Evidence from inflation swap rates and TIPS show that expected inflation increased due to both QE1 and QE2, implying that reductions in real rates were larger than reductions in nominal rates. Our analysis implies that (a) it is inappropriate to focus only on Treasury rates as a policy target because QE works through several channels that affect particular assets differently, and (b) effects on particular assets depend critically on which assets are purchased.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2011 Meeting Papers with number 1447.

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    Date of creation: 2011
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    Handle: RePEc:red:sed011:1447

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    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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    1. Eric T. Swanson, 2011. "Let’s twist again: a high-frequency event-study analysis of operation twist and its implications for QE2," Working Paper Series 2011-08, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    2. Olivier Vigneron, & Xavier Gabaix & Arvind Krishnamurthy, 2004. "Limits of Arbitrage: Theory and Evidence from the Mortgage-Backed Securities Market," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 430, Econometric Society.
    3. Andreas Fuster & Paul S. Willen, 2010. "$1.25 Trillion is still real money : some facts about the effects of the Federal Reserve’s mortgage market investments," Public Policy Discussion Paper 10-4, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
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    Cited by:
    1. Yunus Aksoy & Henrique S. Basso, 2012. "Liquidity, term spreads and monetary policy," Banco de Espa�a Working Papers 1223, Banco de Espa�a.
    2. Christopher Martin & Costas Milas, 2012. "Quantitative Easing: A Sceptical Survey," Working Paper Series 73_12, The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis.
    3. Rose, Andrew K & Spiegel, Mark, 2011. "Dollar Illiquidity and Central Bank Swap Arrangements During the Global Financial Crisis," CEPR Discussion Papers 8557, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Glick, Reuven & Leduc, Sylvain, 2012. "Central bank announcements of asset purchases and the impact on global financial and commodity markets," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(8), pages 2078-2101.
    5. Gürkaynak, Refet S. & Wright, Jonathan, 2013. "Identification and Inference Using Event Studies," CEPR Discussion Papers 9388, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Ellison, Martin & Tischbirek, Andreas, 2014. "Unconventional government debt purchases as a supplement to conventional monetary policy," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 199-217.
    7. Jonathan H. Wright, 2011. "What does Monetary Policy do to Long-Term Interest Rates at the Zero Lower Bound?," NBER Working Papers 17154, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Driessen, Joost & Van Hemert, Otto, 2012. "Pricing of commercial real estate securities during the 2007–2009 financial crisis," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(1), pages 37-61.

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