The Original Operation Twist: The War Finance Corporation's War Bond Purchase, 1918-1920
In 1918 the United States Treasury delegated to the War Finance Corporation, a newly-created off-budget federal agency, the task of buying Liberty and later victory bonds in an effort to stabilize prices. Bayesian vector autoregression analysis of the bond purchase indicate that the WFC purchase provided significant price support, and lowered bond yields while the program operated. Once WFC purchase ended, war bond yields increased substantially. However, since the war bond purchases were financed by the sale of short-term debt certificates, the bond purchases increased short rates while reducing long rates. The WFC’s bond purchases twisted the yield curve.
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