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Assessing the economy-wide effects of quantitative easing

  • Kapetanios, George


    (Queen Mary, University of London)

  • Mumtaz, Haroon


    (Bank of England)

  • Stevens, Ibrahim


    (Bank of England)

  • Theodoridis, Konstantinos


    (Bank of England)

This paper examines the macroeconomic impact of the first round of quantitative easing (QE) by the Bank of England which started in March 2009. Although Bank Rate, the UK policy rate, was reduced to ½%, effectively its lower bound, the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee felt that additional measures were necessary to meet the inflation target in the medium term. The policy of QE entailed buying private and mainly public assets in large quantities using central bank money, with the aim of injecting money into the economy and boosting nominal spending, in order to help achieve the Bank’s inflation target. Over the period from March 2009 to January 2010, the Bank of England purchased £200 billion of assets, mainly consisting of government securities. We attempt to quantify the effects of these purchases by focusing on the impact of lower long-term interest rates on the wider economy. This is motivated by empirical evidence indicating that QE purchases reduced long-term UK government bond yields by about 100 basis points. Other transmission channels are also possible, but are not considered in this paper. We use three different models to conduct counterfactual simulations to estimate the impact of QE on output and inflation: a large Bayesian VAR; a change-point structural VAR; and a time-varying parameter VAR. Our preferred average estimates from the three models suggest that QE may have had a peak effect on the level of real GDP of around 1½% and a peak effect on annual CPI inflation of about 1¼ percentage points. These estimates are shown to vary considerably across the different model specifications, and with the precise assumptions made to generate the counterfactual simulations, and are therefore subject to considerable uncertainty.

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Paper provided by Bank of England in its series Bank of England working papers with number 443.

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Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: 27 Jan 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:boe:boeewp:0443
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  1. 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.
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  16. Kadiyala, K Rao & Karlsson, Sune, 1997. "Numerical Methods for Estimation and Inference in Bayesian VAR-Models," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(2), pages 99-132, March-Apr.
  17. Harrison, Richard, 2012. "Asset purchase policy at the effective lower bound for interest rates," Bank of England working papers 444, Bank of England.
  18. Lawrence Christiano & Daisuke Ikeda, 2011. "Government Policy, Credit Markets and Economic Activity," NBER Working Papers 17142, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Arvind Krishnamurthy & Annette Vissing-Jorgensen, 2011. "The Effects of Quantitative Easing on Interest Rates: Channels and Implications for Policy," NBER Working Papers 17555, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  22. Charles R. Bean & Matthias Paustian & Adrian Penalver & Tim Taylor, 2010. "Monetary policy after the fall," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 267-328.
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