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The Federal Reserve’s response to the financial crisis: what it did and what it should have done

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  • Daniel L. Thornton

Abstract

This paper analyzes the Federal Reserve’s major policy actions in response to the financial crisis. The analysis is divided into the pre-Lehman and post-Lehman monetary policies. Specifically, I describe the pre- and post-Lehman monetary policy actions that I believe were appropriate and those that were not. I then describe the monetary policy actions the Fed should have taken and why those actions would have fostered better financial market and economic outcomes. Had these actions been taken, the Fed’s balance sheet would have returned to normal and the FOMC’s target for the federal funds rate would be a level consistent with a positive real rate and an inflation target of 2 percent.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel L. Thornton, 2012. "The Federal Reserve’s response to the financial crisis: what it did and what it should have done," Working Papers 2012-050, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2012-050
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Seth Carpenter & Selva Demiralp, 2008. "The Liquidity Effect in the Federal Funds Market: Evidence at the Monthly Frequency," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 40(1), pages 1-24, February.
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    4. Thornton, Daniel L., 2001. "The Federal Reserve's operating procedure, nonborrowed reserves, borrowed reserves and the liquidity effect," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 25(9), pages 1717-1739, September.
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    14. Jagjit S. Chadha & Sean Holly, 2011. "New Instruments of Monetary Policy," Studies in Economics 1109, School of Economics, University of Kent.
    15. Massimo Guidolin & Daniel L. Thornton, 2010. "Predictions of short-term rates and the expectations hypothesis," Working Papers 2010-013, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    16. Goodfriend, Marvin, 2011. "Central banking in the credit turmoil: An assessment of Federal Reserve practice," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 1-12, January.
    17. Joyce, Michael & Lasaosa, Ana & Stevens , Ibrahim & Tong, Matthew, 2010. "The financial market impact of quantitative easing," Bank of England working papers 393, Bank of England.
    18. Eric T. Swanson, 2011. "Let's Twist Again: A High-Frequency Event-study Analysis of Operation Twist and Its Implications for QE2," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 42(1 (Spring), pages 151-207.
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    Cited by:

    1. Smales, Lee A. & Apergis, Nick, 2016. "The influence of FOMC member characteristics on the monetary policy decision-making process," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 216-231.

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    Keywords

    Federal Reserve banks ; Monetary policy ; Financial crises;

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