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Monetary policy without reserve requirements : case studies and options for the United States


  • Gordon H. Sellon
  • Stuart E. Weiner


Over the past decade, the level of required balances held by depository institutions in the United States has declined dramatically. The decline in reserve balances has fueled a debate over the role of reserve requirements. On the one hand, proponents of reserve requirements argue that low reserve balances may complicate monetary policy operations and increase short-term interest rate volatility. On the other hand, critics of reserve requirements argue that lower reserve requirements remove a distortionary tax on depository institutions and need not complicate monetary policy operations. ; In this article, the authors examine how three countries - Canada, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand conduct monetary policy without using reserve requirements. The experience of these three countries provides insight into the linkages between the payments system and monetary policy and into the connection between reserve requirements and interest rate volatility. This insight is particularly helpful in understanding the implications of a further reduction of reserve balances in the United States.

Suggested Citation

  • Gordon H. Sellon & Stuart E. Weiner, 1997. "Monetary policy without reserve requirements : case studies and options for the United States," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q II, pages 5-30.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedker:y:1997:i:qii:p:5-30:n:v.82no.2

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lewis Evans & Arthur Grimes & Bryce Wilkinson, 1996. "Economic Reform in New Zealand 1984-95: The Pursuit of Efficiency," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(4), pages 1856-1902, December.
    2. Kevin Clinton, 1997. "Implementation of Monetary Policy in a Regime with Zero Reserve Requirements," Staff Working Papers 97-8, Bank of Canada.
    3. Joshua N. Feinman, 1993. "Reserve requirements: history, current practice, and potential reform," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Jun, pages 569-589.
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    Cited by:

    1. Michael Woodford, 2001. "Monetary policy in the information economy," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 297-370.
    2. Dow, James Jr., 2001. "The Recent Behavior of Adjustment Credit at the Discount Window," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 199-211, April.
    3. Georg Rich, 1997. "Do Central Banks Need Minimum Reserves?," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 133(IV), pages 691-708, December.
    4. Roberds, William, 1998. "The supply and demand for Federal Reserve deposits : A comment," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 45-52, December.
    5. Bental, Benjamin & Eden, Benjamin, 2002. "Reserve requirements and output fluctuations," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(8), pages 1597-1620, November.
    6. Rodrigo Cifuentes S., 2001. "Encaje a los Depósitos: Argumentos Teóricos e Impcato en la Política de Liquidez de los Bancos," Notas de Investigación Journal Economía Chilena (The Chilean Economy), Central Bank of Chile, vol. 4(3), pages 97-101, December.
    7. Demiralp, Selva & Farley, Dennis, 2005. "Declining required reserves, funds rate volatility, and open market operations," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 1131-1152, May.
    8. Yueh-Yun C. O’Brien, 2007. "Reserve requirement systems in OECD countries," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2007-54, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    9. Xiaohui Zhang & Zhihong Ji & Yong Cui, 2009. "Reserve requirement, reserve requirement tax and money control in China: 1984–2007," Frontiers of Economics in China, Springer;Higher Education Press, vol. 4(3), pages 361-383, September.
    10. Sato, Kazuo, 1998. "Stabilization policy and the Japanese economy," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 67-94.
    11. Nicolas Couderc, 2005. "Réserves obligatoires : un état des lieux," Revue d'Économie Financière, Programme National Persée, vol. 78(1), pages 363-380.


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