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The daily and policy-relevant liquidity effects

Listed author(s):
  • Daniel L. Thornton

In an environment of low inflation, the Federal Reserve faces the risk that it has not provided enough monetary stimulus even when it has pushed the short-term nominal interest rate to its lower bound of zero. Assuming the nominal Treasury-bill rate has been lowered to zero, this paper considers whether further open market purchases of Treasury bills could spur aggregate demand through increases in the monetary base that may stimulate aggregate demand by increasing liquidity for financial intermediaries and households; by affecting expectations of the future paths of short-term interest rates, inflation, and asset prices; or by stimulating bank lending through the credit channel. This paper also examines the alternative policy tools that are available to the Federal Reserve in theory, and notes the practical limitations imposed by the Federal Reserve Act, The tools the Federal Reserve has at its disposal include open market purchases of Treasury bonds and private-sector credit instruments (at least those that may be purchased by the Federal Reserve); unsterilized and sterilized intervention in foreign exchange; lending through the discount window; and, perhaps in some circumstances, the use of options.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its series Working Papers with number 2007-001.

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Date of creation: 2007
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2007-001
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  1. Bernanke, Ben S. & Mihov, Ilian, 1998. "The liquidity effect and long-run neutrality," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 149-194, December.
  2. Ben S. Bernanke & Ilian Mihov, 1998. "Measuring Monetary Policy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(3), pages 869-902.
  3. William E. Gibson, 1970. "The Lag in the Effect of Monetary Policy on Income and Interest Rates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(2), pages 288-300.
  4. Christiano, Lawrence J & Eichenbaum, Martin & Evans, Charles, 1996. "The Effects of Monetary Policy Shocks: Evidence from the Flow of Funds," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(1), pages 16-34, February.
  5. Bartolini, Leonardo & Bertola, Giuseppe & Prati, Alessandro, 2002. "Day-to-Day Monetary Policy and the Volatility of the Federal Funds Interest Rate," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 34(1), pages 137-159, February.
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  7. Hamilton, James D, 1997. "Measuring the Liquidity Effect," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 80-97, March.
  8. Thornton, Daniel L., 2005. "Tests of the expectations hypothesis: Resolving the anomalies when the short-term rate is the federal funds rate," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(10), pages 2541-2556, October.
  9. Daniel L. Thornton, 2001. "Identifying the liquidity effect at the daily frequency," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 59-82.
  10. Daniel L. Thornton, 2004. "Forecasting the Treasury's balance at the Fed," Journal of Forecasting, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(5), pages 357-371.
  11. Evans, Charles L. & Marshall, David A., 1998. "Monetary policy and the term structure of nominal interest rates: Evidence and theory," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 53-111, December.
  12. Cagan, Phillip & Gandolfi, Arthur, 1969. "The Lag in Monetary Policy as Implied by the Time Pattern of Monetary Effects on Interest Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(2), pages 277-284, May.
  13. Feinman, Joshua N, 1993. "Estimating the Open Market Desk's Daily Reaction Function," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 25(2), pages 231-247, May.
  14. Carpenter, Seth & Demiralp, Selva, 2006. "The Liquidity Effect in the Federal Funds Market: Evidence from Daily Open Market Operations," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 38(4), pages 901-920, June.
  15. Adrian R. Pagan & John C. Robertson, 1995. "Resolving the liquidity effect," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 33-54.
  16. James D. Hamilton, 2007. "Assessing Monetary Policy Effects Using Daily Fed Funds Futures Contracts," NBER Working Papers 13569, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Christian Gilles & Pamela A. Labadie & Wilbur John Coleman II., 1996. "A model of the federal funds market," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 7(2), pages 337-357.
  18. Gibson, William E, 1970. "Interest Rates and Monetary Policy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(3), pages 431-455, May-June.
  19. Strongin, Steven, 1995. "The identification of monetary policy disturbances explaining the liquidity puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 463-497, June.
  20. Daniel L. Thornton, 1988. "The borrowed-reserves operating procedures: theory and evidence," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jan, pages 30-54.
  21. Thomas M. Humphrey, 1983. "The early history of the real/nominal interest rate relationship," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue May, pages 2-10.
  22. Engle, Robert F, 1982. "Autoregressive Conditional Heteroscedasticity with Estimates of the Variance of United Kingdom Inflation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 987-1007, July.
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