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Unconventional Monetary Policy and the Great Recession: Estimating the Macroeconomic Effects of a Spread Compression at the Zero Lower Bound

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  • Christiane Baumeister

    (Bank of Canada)

  • Luca Benati

    (University of Bern)

Abstract

We explore the macroeconomic effects of a compression in the long-term bond yield spread within the context of the Great Recession of 2007–09 via a time-varying parameter structural VAR model. We identify a “pure” spread shock defined as a shock that leaves the policy rate unchanged, which allows us to characterize the macroeconomic consequences of a decline in the yield spread induced by central banks’ asset purchases within an environment in which the policy rate is constrained by the effective zero lower bound. Two key findings stand out. First, compressions in the long-term yield spread exert a powerful effect on both output growth and inflation. Second, conditional on available estimates of the impact of the Federal Reserve’s and the Bank of England’s asset purchase programs on long-term yield spreads, our counterfactual simulations suggest that U.S. and U.K. unconventional monetary policy actions have averted significant risks both of deflation and of output collapses comparable to those that took place during the Great Depression.

Suggested Citation

  • Christiane Baumeister & Luca Benati, 2013. "Unconventional Monetary Policy and the Great Recession: Estimating the Macroeconomic Effects of a Spread Compression at the Zero Lower Bound," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 9(2), pages 165-212, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:ijc:ijcjou:y:2013:q:2:a:9
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C11 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Bayesian Analysis: General
    • C32 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes; State Space Models
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies

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