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Open market operations and the federal funds rate

  • Daniel L. Thornton

It is commonly believed that the Fed's ability to control the federal funds rate stems from its ability to alter the supply of liquidity in the overnight market through open market operations. This paper uses daily data compiled by the author from the records of the Trading Desk of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York over the period March 1, 1984, through December 31, 1996: He analyzes the Desk's use of its operating procedure in implementing monetary policy and the extent to which open market operations affect the federal funds rate-the liquidity effect. The author finds that the operating procedure was used to guide daily open market operations; however, there is little evidence of a liquidity effect at the daily frequency and even less evidence at lower frequencies. Consistent with the absence of a liquidity effect, open market operations appear to be a relatively unimportant source of liquidity to the federal funds market.

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Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its journal Review.

Volume (Year): (2007)
Issue (Month): Nov ()
Pages: 549-570

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlrv:y:2007:i:nov:p:549-570:n:v.89no.6
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  1. Selva Demiralp & Òscar Jordà, 2002. "The announcement effect: evidence from open market desk data," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue May, pages 29-48.
  2. Thornton, Daniel L., 2004. "The Fed and short-term rates: Is it open market operations, open mouth operations or interest rate smoothing?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 475-498, March.
  3. Hamilton, James D, 1997. "Measuring the Liquidity Effect," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 80-97, March.
  4. Daniel L. Thornton, 2001. "Identifying the liquidity effect at the daily frequency," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 59-82.
  5. Friedman, Benjamin M, 1999. "The Future of Monetary Policy: The Central Bank as an Army with Only a Signal Corps?," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 2(3), pages 321-38, November.
  6. Thornton, Daniel L., 2001. "The Federal Reserve's operating procedure, nonborrowed reserves, borrowed reserves and the liquidity effect," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 25(9), pages 1717-1739, September.
  7. John B. Taylor, 2001. "Expectations, open market operations, and changes in the federal funds rate," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 33-58.
  8. Selva Demiralp & Dennis Farley, 2003. "Declining required reserves, funds rate volatility, and open market operations," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2003-27, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  9. Benjamin M. Friedman, 1999. "The Future of Monetary Policy: The Central Bank as an Army With Only a Signal Corps," NBER Working Papers 7420, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Adrian R. Pagan & John C. Robertson, 1995. "Resolving the liquidity effect," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 33-54.
  11. Demiralp, Selva & Preslopsky, Brian & Whitesell, William, 2006. "Overnight interbank loan markets," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 67-83.
  12. Carpenter, Seth & Demiralp, Selva, 2006. "The Liquidity Effect in the Federal Funds Market: Evidence from Daily Open Market Operations," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 38(4), pages 901-920, June.
  13. Daniel L. Thornton, 1988. "The effect of monetary policy on short-term interest rates," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 53-72.
  14. Ken B. Cyree & Mark D. Griffiths & Drew B. Winters, 2003. "On the pervasive effects of Federal Reserve settlement regulations," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Mar, pages 27-46.
  15. William Poole & Robert H & Rasche & Daniel L. Thornton, 2002. "Market anticipations of monetary policy actions," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 65-94.
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