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Counterfactual Analysis in Macroeconometrics: An Empirical Investigation into the Effects of Quantitative Easing

  • M. Hashem Pesaran
  • Ron P. Smith

This paper is concerned with ex ante and ex post counterfactual analyses in the case of macroeconometric applications where a single unit is observed before and after a given policy intervention. It distinguishes between cases where the policy change affects the model’s parameters and where it does not. It is argued that for ex post policy evaluation it is important that outcomes are conditioned on ex post realized variables that are invariant to the policy change but nevertheless influence the outcomes. The effects of the control variables that are determined endogenously with the policy outcomes can be solved out for the policy evaluation exercise. An ex post policy ineffectiveness test statistic is proposed. The analysis is applied to the evaluation of the effects of the quantitative easing (QE) in the UK after March 2009. It is estimated that a 100 basis points reduction in the spread due to QE has an impact effect on output growth of about one percentage point, but the policy impact is very quickly reversed with no statistically significant effects remaining within 9-12 months of the policy intervention.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3879.

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Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3879
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  1. Claudio Borio & Piti Disyatat, 2010. "Unconventional Monetary Policies: An Appraisal," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 78(s1), pages 53-89, 09.
  2. George Kapetanios & Haroon Mumtaz & Ibrahim Stevens & Konstantinos Theodoridis, 2012. "Assessing the Economy‐wide Effects of Quantitative Easing," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(564), pages F316-F347, November.
  3. Giannone, Domenico & Lenza, Michele & Pill, Huw & Reichlin, Lucrezia, 2011. "Non-standard monetary policy measures and monetary developments," Working Paper Series 1290, European Central Bank.
  4. 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.
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  6. Joyce, Michael & Lasaosa, Ana & Stevens , Ibrahim & Tong, Matthew, 2010. "The financial market impact of quantitative easing," Bank of England working papers 393, Bank of England.
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  8. Dees, S. & di Mauro, F. & Pesaran, M.H. & Smith, L.V., 2005. "Exploring the International Linkages of the Euro Area: a Global VAR Analysis," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0518, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  9. M Hashem Pesaran & Andreas Pick & Mikhail Pranovich, 2011. "Optimal Forecasts in the Presence of Structural Breaks," DNB Working Papers 327, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  10. M. Hashem Pesaran & L. Vanessa Smith & Ron P. Smith, 2007. "What if the UK or Sweden had joined the euro in 1999? An empirical evaluation using a Global VAR," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(1), pages 55-87.
  11. Joshua D. Angrist & Òscar Jordà & Guido Kuersteiner, 2013. "Semiparametric Estimates of Monetary Policy Effects: String Theory Revisited," NBER Working Papers 19355, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Guido W. Imbens & Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2009. "Recent Developments in the Econometrics of Program Evaluation," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(1), pages 5-86, March.
  13. Joyce, Michael, 2012. "Quantitative easing and other unconventional monetary policies: Bank of England conference summary," Bank of England Quarterly Bulletin, Bank of England, vol. 52(1), pages 48-56.
  14. James J. Heckman, 2010. "Building Bridges Between Structural and Program Evaluation Approaches to Evaluating Policy," NBER Working Papers 16110, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Michael Joyce & David Miles & Andrew Scott & Dimitri Vayanos, 2012. "Quantitative Easing and Unconventional Monetary Policy – an Introduction," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(564), pages F271-F288, November.
  16. Charles A. E. Goodhart & Jonathan P. Ashworth, 2012. "QE: a successful start may be running into diminishing returns," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(4), pages 640-670, WINTER.
  17. James Heckman, 2008. "Econometric causality," CeMMAP working papers CWP01/08, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  18. Athanasios Orphanides & John C. Williams, 2010. "Monetary policy mistakes and the evolution of inflation expectations," Working Paper Series 2010-12, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  19. Alberto Abadie & Javier Gardeazabal, 2003. "The Economic Costs of Conflict: A Case Study of the Basque Country," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 113-132, March.
  20. Jack Meaning & Feng Zhu, 2011. "The impact of recent central bank asset purchase programmes," BIS Quarterly Review, Bank for International Settlements, December.
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