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QE 1 vs. 2 vs. 3. . . : A Framework for Analyzing Large-Scale Asset Purchases as a Monetary Policy Tool

  • Mark Gertler

    (New York University)

  • Peter Karadi

    (European Central Bank)

We introduce large-scale asset purchases (LSAPs) as a monetary policy tool within a macroeconomic model.We allow for purchases of both long-term government bonds and securities with some private risks. We argue that LSAPs should be thought of as central bank intermediation that can affect the economy to the extent there exist limits to arbitrage in private intermediation. We then build a model with limits to arbitrage in banking that vary countercyclically and where the frictions are greater for private securities than for government bonds. We use the framework to study the impact of LSAPs that have the broad features of the different quantitative easing (QE) programs the Federal Reserve pursued over the course of the crisis. We find that (i) LSAPs work in the model in a way mostly consistent with the evidence; (ii) purchases of securities with some private risk have stronger effects than purchases of government bonds; (iii) the effects of the LSAPs depend heavily on whether the zero lower bound is binding. Our model does not rely on the central bank having a more efficient intermediation technology than the private sector: We assume the opposite.

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Article provided by International Journal of Central Banking in its journal International Journal of Central Banking.

Volume (Year): 9 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 5-53

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Handle: RePEc:ijc:ijcjou:y:2013:q:0:a:1
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  1. Vasco Cúrdia & Michael Woodford, 2010. "The central-bank balance sheet as an instrument of monetary policy," Staff Reports 463, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  2. Dimitri Vayanos & Jean-Luc Vila, 2009. "A Preferred-Habitat Model of the Term Structure of Interest Rates," NBER Working Papers 15487, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Tobias Adrian & Paolo Colla & Hyun Song Shin, 2013. "Which Financial Frictions? Parsing the Evidence from the Financial Crisis of 2007 to 2009," NBER Macroeconomics Annual, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(1), pages 159 - 214.
  4. 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.
  5. Vasco Curdia & Andrea Ferrero & Han Chen, 2012. "The Macroeconomic Effects of Large-Scale Asset Purchase Programs," 2012 Meeting Papers 372, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  6. Gert Peersman, 2012. "Effectiveness of Unconventional Monetary Policy at the Zero Lower Bound," 2012 Meeting Papers 400, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. Sydney C. Ludvigson & Serena Ng, 2009. "Macro Factors in Bond Risk Premia," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(12), pages 5027-5067, December.
  8. Bernanke, Ben & Gertler, Mark & Gilchrist, Simon, 1994. "The Financial Accelerator and the Flight to Quality," Working Papers 94-24, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  9. Johannes C. Stroebel & John B. Taylor, 2009. "Estimated Impact of the Fed's Mortgage-Backed Securities Purchase Program," NBER Working Papers 15626, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Sargent, Thomas J & Wallace, Neil, 1982. "The Real-Bills Doctrine versus the Quantity Theory: A Reconsideration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(6), pages 1212-36, December.
  11. Baumeister, Christiane & Benati, Luca, 2010. "Unconventional monetary policy and the great recession - Estimating the impact of a compression in the yield spread at the zero lower bound," Working Paper Series 1258, European Central Bank.
  12. Francois Gourio, 2009. "Disaster risk and business cycles," 2009 Meeting Papers 1176, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  13. Nobuhiro Kiyotaki & Gauti Eggertsson & Andrea Ferrero & Marco Del Negro, 2010. "The Great Escape? A Quantitative Evaluation of the Fed’s Non-Standard Policies," 2010 Meeting Papers 113, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  14. Tobias Adrian & Paolo Colla & Hyun Song Shin, 2012. "Which Financial Frictions? Parsing the Evidence from the Financial Crisis of 2007-9," NBER Working Papers 18335, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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