IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

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

  • Christiane Baumeister

    (Bank of Canada)

  • Luca Benati

    (University of Bern)

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.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

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

Volume (Year): 9 (2013)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 165-212

in new window

Handle: RePEc:ijc:ijcjou:y:2013:q:2:a:9
Contact details of provider: Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Fabio Canova & Luca Gambetti, 2003. "Structural changes in the US economy: is there a role for monetary policy?," Economics Working Papers 918, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Apr 2008.
  2. repec:oup:restud:v:72:y:2005:i:3:p:821-852 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1994. "Evidence on Structural Instability in Macroeconomic Time Series Relations," NBER Technical Working Papers 0164, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Margaret M. McConnell & Gabriel Perez-Quiros, 2000. "Output fluctuations in the United States: what has changed since the early 1980s?," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Mar.
  5. Kilian, Lutz & Lewis, Logan, 2009. "Does the Fed Respond to Oil Price Shocks?," CEPR Discussion Papers 7594, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Jeremy Berkowitz & Francis X. Diebold, 1998. "Bootstrapping Multivariate Spectra," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(4), pages 664-666, November.
  7. Alan J. Auerbach & Maurice Obstfeld, 2003. "The Case for Open-Market Purchases in a Liquidity Trap," NBER Working Papers 9814, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Eric T. Swanson & John C. Williams, 2014. "Measuring the Effect of the Zero Lower Bound on Medium- and Longer-Term Interest Rates," NBER Working Papers 20486, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Luca Benati, 2008. "The "Great Moderation" in the United Kingdom," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 40(1), pages 121-147, 02.
  10. Lenza, Michele & Pill, Huw & Reichlin, Lucrezia, 2010. "Monetary policy in exceptional times," CEPR Discussion Papers 7669, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Christopher A. Sims & Tao Zha, 2005. "Were There Regime Switches in U.S. Monetary Policy?," Working Papers 92, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
  12. Jacquier, Eric & Polson, Nicholas G & Rossi, Peter E, 1994. "Bayesian Analysis of Stochastic Volatility Models," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 12(4), pages 371-89, October.
  13. Lutz KILIAN & Simone MANGANELLI, . "Quantifying the Risk of Deflation," EcoMod2004 330600076, EcoMod.
  14. Christiane Baumeister & Philip Liu & Haroon Mumtaz, 2012. "Changes in the Effects of Monetary Policy on Disaggregate Price Dynamics," Staff Working Papers 12-13, Bank of Canada.
  15. Benati, Luca & Surico, Paolo, 2008. "VAR analysis and the Great Moderation," Working Paper Series 0866, European Central Bank.
  16. Benati, Luca & Mumtaz, Haroon, 2007. "U.S. evolving macroeconomic dynamics: a structural investigation," Working Paper Series 0746, European Central Bank.
  17. Canova, Fabio & Paustian, Matthias, 2011. "Business cycle measurement with some theory," CEPR Discussion Papers 8364, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. Eric T. Swanson, 2011. "Let's Twist Again: A High-Frequency Event-Study Analysis of Operation Twist and Its Implications for QE2," 2011 Meeting Papers 982, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  19. Christiane Baumeister & Gert Peersman, 2013. "The Role Of Time‐Varying Price Elasticities In Accounting For Volatility Changes In The Crude Oil Market," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(7), pages 1087-1109, November.
  20. Fabio Canova & Gianni De Nicolo, 2000. "Monetary disturbances matter for business fluctuations in the G-7," International Finance Discussion Papers 660, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  21. James D. Hamilton & Jing Cynthia Wu, 2011. "The Effectiveness of Alternative Monetary Policy Tools in a Zero Lower Bound Environment," NBER Working Papers 16956, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. repec:oup:restud:v:77:y:2010:i:2:p:665-696 is not listed on IDEAS
  23. Joseph Gagnon & Matthew Raskin & Julie Remache & Brian Sack, 2011. "The Financial Market Effects of the Federal Reserve's Large-Scale Asset Purchases," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 7(1), pages 3-43, March.
  24. Simon Gilchrist & Vladimir Yankov & Egon Zakrajsek, 2009. "Credit Market Shocks and Economic Fluctuations: Evidence from Corporate Bond and Stock Markets," NBER Working Papers 14863, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Lutz Kilian & Daniel P. Murphy, 2012. "Why Agnostic Sign Restrictions Are Not Enough: Understanding The Dynamics Of Oil Market Var Models," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(5), pages 1166-1188, October.
  26. Christopher J. Neely, 2010. "The large scale asset purchases had large international effects," Working Papers 2010-018, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  27. Hess Chung & Jean‐Philippe Laforte & David Reifschneider & John C. Williams, 2012. "Have We Underestimated the Likelihood and Severity of Zero Lower Bound Events?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 44, pages 47-82, 02.
  28. Han Chen & Vasco Cúrdia & Andrea Ferrero, 2011. "The macroeconomic effects of large-scale asset purchase programs," Staff Reports 527, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  29. Koop, Gary & Pesaran, M. Hashem & Potter, Simon M., 1996. "Impulse response analysis in nonlinear multivariate models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 119-147, September.
  30. Marco Del Negro & Gauti B. Eggertsson & Andrea Ferrero & Nobuhiro Kiyotaki, 2011. "The great escape? A quantitative evaluation of the Fed’s liquidity facilities," Staff Reports 520, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  31. Juan F. Rubio-Ramírez & Daniel F. Waggoner & Tao Zha, 2008. "Structural vector autoregressions: theory of identification and algorithms for inference," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2008-18, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  32. Chang-Jin Kim & Charles R. Nelson, 1999. "State-Space Models with Regime Switching: Classical and Gibbs-Sampling Approaches with Applications," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262112388, June.
  33. Lutz Kilian & Robert J. Vigfusson, 2011. "Are the responses of the U.S. economy asymmetric in energy price increases and decreases?," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 2(3), pages 419-453, November.
  34. Glenn D. Rudebusch & Brian P. Sack & Eric T. Swanson, 2007. "Macroeconomic implications of changes in the term premium," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 241-270.
  35. Jacquier, Eric & Polson, Nicholas G & Rossi, Peter E, 1994. "Bayesian Analysis of Stochastic Volatility Models: Comments: Reply," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 12(4), pages 413-17, October.
  36. Koop, Gary & Leon-Gonzalez, Roberto & Strachan, Rodney W., 2009. "On the evolution of the monetary policy transmission mechanism," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 997-1017, April.
  37. Benati, Luca, 2010. "Are policy counterfactuals based on structural VAR's reliable?," Working Paper Series 1188, European Central Bank.
  38. 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.
  39. Michael A. S. Joyce & Ana Lasaosa & Ibrahim Stevens & Matthew Tong, 2011. "The Financial Market Impact of Quantitative Easing in the United Kingdom," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 7(3), pages 113-161, September.
  40. André Meier, 2009. "Panacea, Curse, or Nonevent? Unconventional Monetary Policy in the United Kingdom," IMF Working Papers 09/163, International Monetary Fund.
  41. Stephanie Schmitt-Grohé & Martín Uribe, 2010. "Liquidity Traps: An Interest-Rate-Based Exit Strategy," NBER Working Papers 16514, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ijc:ijcjou:y:2013:q:2:a:9. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Timo Laurmaa)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.