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The Relevance or Otherwise of the Central Bank's Balance Sheet

  • David K. Miles
  • Jochen Schanz

This paper explores the impacts on an economy of a central bank changing the size and composition of its balance sheet. One of the ways in which such asset purchases could influence prices and demand is via portfolio balance effects. We develop and calibrate a simple OLG model in which risk]averse households hold money and bonds to insure against risk. Central bank asset purchases have the potential to affect householdsf choices by changing the composition and return of their asset portfolios. We find that the effect is weak, and that its size depends on how fiscal policy is conducted. That is not to say that the big expansion of central bank balance sheets in recent years has been ineffective. Our finding is rather that the portfolio balance channel evaluated in an environment of normally functioning (though nonetheless incomplete) asset markets is weak. That is not inconsistent with the evidence that large]scale asset purchases by central banks since 2008 have had significant effects, because those purchases were made when financial markets were, to varying extents, dysfunctional. Nonetheless our results are relevant to those purchases because they may be unwound in an environment where financial markets are no longer dysfunctional.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 4615.

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Date of creation: 2014
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4615
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  1. Jean-Luc Vila & Dimitri Vayanos, 2009. "A Preferred-Habitat Model of the Term Structure of Interest Rates," FMG Discussion Papers dp641, Financial Markets Group.
  2. A Durré & H Pill, 2012. "Central Bank balance sheets as policy tools," BIS Papers chapters, in: Bank for International Settlements (ed.), Are central bank balance sheets in Asia too large?, volume 66, pages 193-213 Bank for International Settlements.
  3. Philippe Weil, 2008. "Overlapping generations: the first jubilee," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/13430, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  4. Joseph Gagnon & Matthew Raskin & Julie Remache & Brian Sack, 2011. "Large-scale asset purchases by the Federal Reserve: did they work?," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue May, pages 41-59.
  5. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/8712 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Sargent, Thomas J & Smith, Bruce D, 1987. "Irrelevance of Open Market Operations in Some Economies with Government Currency Being Dominated in Rate of Return," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(1), pages 78-92, March.
  7. Wallace, Neil, 1981. "A Modigliani-Miller Theorem for Open-Market Operations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 267-74, June.
  8. Gauti B. Eggertsson & Michael Woodford, 2003. "The Zero Bound on Interest Rates and Optimal Monetary Policy," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 34(1), pages 139-235.
  9. 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.
  10. Chamley, Christophe & Polemarchakis, Herakles, 1984. "Assets, General Equilibrium and the Neutrality of Money," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(1), pages 129-38, January.
  11. Christopher A. Sims, 2013. "Paper Money," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(2), pages 563-84, April.
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