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The identification of the response of interest rates to monetary policy actions using market-based measures of monetary policy shocks

  • Daniel L. Thornton

It is common practice to estimate the response of asset prices to monetary policy actions using market-based measures of monetary policy shocks, such as the federal funds futures rate. I show that because interest rates and market-based measures of monetary policy shocks respond simultaneously to all news and not simply news about monetary policy actions, market-based measures of monetary policy shocks yield biased estimates of the response of interest rates to monetary policy actions. I propose a methodology that corrects for this "joint-response bias." The results indicate that the response of Treasury yields to monetary policy actions is considerably weaker than previously estimated. In particular, there is no statistically significant response of longer-term Treasury yields before February 2000 and no statistically significant response of any Treasury rate after.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its series Working Papers with number 2009-037.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2009-037
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  1. Daniel L. Thornton, 2006. ""Measured pace" in the conduct of monetary policy," Monetary Trends, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Mar.
  2. Ben Bernanke & Kenneth N. Kuttner, 2003. "What explains the stock market's reaction to Federal Reserve policy?," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Mar.
  3. Gurkaynak, Refet S & Sack, Brian & Swanson, Eric T, 2005. "Do Actions Speak Louder Than Words? The Response of Asset Prices to Monetary Policy Actions and Statements," MPRA Paper 820, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Leonardo Bartolini & Linda Goldberg & Adam Sacarny, 2008. "How economic news moves markets," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 14(Aug).
  5. Jon Faust & Eric Swanson & and Jonathan H. Wright, 2002. "Identifying vars based on high frequency futures data," International Finance Discussion Papers 720, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  6. Kuttner, Kenneth N., 2001. "Monetary policy surprises and interest rates: Evidence from the Fed funds futures market," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 523-544, June.
  7. Piazzesi, Monika & Swanson, Eric T., 2008. "Futures prices as risk-adjusted forecasts of monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 677-691, May.
  8. Thornton, Daniel L., 2004. "The Fed and short-term rates: Is it open market operations, open mouth operations or interest rate smoothing?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 475-498, March.
  9. Monika Piazzesi, 2002. "The Fed and Interest Rates - A High-Frequency Identification," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 90-95, May.
  10. Rudebusch, G.D., 1996. "Do Measures of Monetary Policy in a VAR Make Sense?," Papers 269, Banca Italia - Servizio di Studi.
  11. William Poole & Robert Rasche, 2000. "Perfecting the Market's Knowledge of Monetary Policy," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 255-298, December.
  12. Refet S. Gürkaynak & Brian Sack & Eric Swanson, 2006. "Market-based measures of monetary policy expectations," Working Paper Series 2006-04, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  13. William Poole & Robert H & Rasche & Daniel L. Thornton, 2002. "Market anticipations of monetary policy actions," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 65-94.
  14. Roberto Rigobon & Brian Sack, 2002. "The impact of monetary policy on asset prices," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2002-4, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  15. Daniel L. Thornton, 2005. "When did the FOMC begin targeting the federal funds rate? what the verbatim transcripts tell us," Working Papers 2004-015, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  16. Daniel L. Thornton, 2008. "The unusual behavior of the federal funds and 10-year Treasury rates: a conundrum or Goodhart’s Law?," Working Papers 2007-039, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  17. Bomfim, Antulio N., 2003. "Pre-announcement effects, news effects, and volatility: Monetary policy and the stock market," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 133-151, January.
  18. Michael J. Fleming & Eli M. Remolona, 1999. "Price Formation and Liquidity in the U.S. Treasury Market: The Response to Public Information," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(5), pages 1901-1915, October.
  19. Cook, Timothy & Hahn, Thomas, 1989. "The effect of changes in the federal funds rate target on market interest rates in the 1970s," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 331-351, November.
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