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Ultra easy monetary policy and the law of unintended consequences

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  • William R. White

Abstract

In this paper, an attempt is made to evaluate the desirability of ultra easy monetary policy by weighing up the balance of the desirable short run effects and the undesirable longer run effects—the unintended consequences. The conclusion is that there are limits to what central banks can do. One reason for believing this is that monetary stimulus, operating through traditional ("flow") channels, might now be less effective in stimulating aggregate demand than previously. Further, cumulative ("stock") effects provide negative feedback mechanisms that over time also weaken both supply and demand. It is also the case that ultra easy monetary policies can eventually threaten the health of financial institutions and the functioning of financial markets, threaten the "independence" of central banks, and can encourage imprudent behavior on the part of governments. None of these unintended consequences is desirable. Since monetary policy is not "a free lunch," governments must therefore use much more vigorously the policy levers they still control to support strong, sustainable and balanced growth at the global level.

Suggested Citation

  • William R. White, 2012. "Ultra easy monetary policy and the law of unintended consequences," Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper 126, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:feddgw:126
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    File URL: http://www.dallasfed.org/assets/documents/institute/wpapers/2012/0126.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Orlowski, Lucjan T., 2015. "Monetary expansion and bank credit: A lack of spark," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 510-520.
    2. Borio, Claudio, 2014. "The financial cycle and macroeconomics: What have we learnt?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 182-198.
    3. Putnam, Bluford H., 2013. "Essential concepts necessary to consider when evaluating the efficacy of quantitative easing," Review of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 1-7.
    4. van den End, Jan Willem & Hoeberichts, Marco, 2018. "Low real rates as driver of secular stagnation: Empirical assessment," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 29-40.
    5. Winkler, Adalbert, 2013. "Der lender of last resort vor Gericht," Frankfurt School - Working Paper Series 206, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management.
    6. DragoÈ™ Mihai UNGUREANU & Elena-Doina DASCALU, 2016. "Reforming the European Monetary Policy, a Necessary Action?," International Conference on Economic Sciences and Business Administration, Spiru Haret University, vol. 3(1), pages 226-236, October.
    7. Volha Audzei, 2015. "Information Acquisition and Excessive Risk: Impact of Policy Rate and Market Volatility," ACTA VSFS, University of Finance and Administration, vol. 9(2), pages 115-135.
    8. Orlowski, Lucjan T., 2015. "From pit to electronic trading: Impact on price volatility of U.S. Treasury futures," Review of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 3-9.
    9. Kristina Spantig, 2015. "International monetary policy spillovers—can the RMB and the euro challenge the hegemony of the US dollar?," Asia Europe Journal, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 459-478, December.

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    Keywords

    Banks and banking; Central;

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