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The Federal Reserve's large-scale asset purchase programs: rationale and effects

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Abstract

We provide empirical estimates of the effect of large-scale asset purchase (LSAP)-style operations on longer-term U.S. Treasury yields within a framework that nests the alternative theoretical perspectives on LSAPs. As the principal channels through which LSAPs might matter for longer-term interest rates, we concentrate on (i) the scarcity (available local supply) channel associated with the traditional preferred habitat literature, and (ii) the duration channel associated with the general notion of interest rate risk. We also clarify LSAPs' role in the broader context of monetary policy strategy, bringing out the connections between purchases of longer-term assets and historical Federal Reserve policy approaches. Our results indicate that the impact of LSAP-style operations on longer-term interest rates is mainly felt on the nominal term-premium component; moreover, within the nominal term premium, it is the real term premium that experiences the greatest response. The estimates suggest that the scarcity and duration channels have both been of considerable importance for the transmission of purchases to longer-term Treasury yields. Finally, by isolating the degree to which scarcity and duration impinge on term premiums, our estimates indicate the direction in which macroeconomic models should develop in order to encompass the transmission channels associated with LSAPs.

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  • Stefania D'Amico & William B. English & J. David López-Salido & Edward Nelson, 2012. "The Federal Reserve's large-scale asset purchase programs: rationale and effects," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2012-85, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2012-85
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    JEL classification:

    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates

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