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Interpreting the Unconventional U.S. Monetary Policy of 2007-09

  • Ricardo Reis

This paper reviews the unconventional U.S. monetary policy responses to the financial and real crises of 2007-09, divided into three groups: interest rate policy, quantitative policy, and credit policy. To interpret interest rate policy, it compares the Federal Reserve's actions with the literature on optimal policy in a liquidity trap. The theory suggests that, to minimize the length and severity of the recession, would require a stronger commitment to low interest rates for an extended period of time. To interpret quantitative policy, the paper reviews the determination of inflation under different policy regimes. The main danger for inflation from current actions is that the Federal Reserve may lose its policy independence; a beneficial side effect of the crisis is that the Friedman rule can be implemented by paying interest on reserves. To interpret credit policy, the paper presents a new model of capital market imperfections with different financial institutions and a role for securitization, leveraging, and mark-to-market accounting. The model suggests that providing credit to traders in securities markets can restore liquidity with fewer government funds than extending credit to the originators of loans.

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Article provided by Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution in its journal Brookings Papers on Economic Activity.

Volume (Year): 40 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (Fall) ()
Pages: 119-182

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Handle: RePEc:bin:bpeajo:v:40:y:2009:i:2009-02:p:119-182
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  1. Sims, Christopher A, 1994. "A Simple Model for Study of the Determination of the Price Level and the Interaction of Monetary and Fiscal Policy," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 381-99.
  2. Auerbach, Alan J. & Obstfeld, Maurice, 2012. "The Case for Open-Market Purchases in a Liquidity Trap," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series qt84s7d8c8, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  3. Christina D. Romer, 1991. "What Ended the Great Depression?," NBER Working Papers 3829, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  5. Gary B. Gorton, 2009. "Information, Liquidity, and the (Ongoing) Panic of 2007," NBER Working Papers 14649, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Kiminori Matsuyama, 2008. "Aggregate Implications of Credit Market Imperfections," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2007, Volume 22, pages 1-60 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Frederic S. Mishkin, 2009. "Monetary Policy Strategy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262513374, June.
  8. Reis, Ricardo, 2007. "The analytics of monetary non-neutrality in the Sidrauski model," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 129-135, January.
  9. Matthew B. Canzoneri & Robert E. Cumby & Behzad T. Diba, 1998. "Is the Price Level Determined by the Needs of Fiscal Solvency?," NBER Working Papers 6471, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Woodford, Michael, 1995. "Price-level determinacy without control of a monetary aggregate," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 1-46, December.
  11. Gauti B. Eggertsson & Michael Woodford, 2003. "The Zero Bound on Interest Rates and Optimal Monetary Policy," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 34(1), pages 139-235.
  12. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-91, June.
  13. Franklin Allen & Ana Babus & Elena Carletti, 2009. "Financial Crises: Theory and Evidence," Annual Review of Financial Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 97-116, November.
  14. Berriel Tiago C & Bhattarai Saroj, 2009. "Monetary Policy and Central Bank Balance Sheet Concerns," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-33, January.
  15. Markus K. Brunnermeier, 2009. "Deciphering the Liquidity and Credit Crunch 2007-2008," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(1), pages 77-100, Winter.
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