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

  • Daniel L. Thornton

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.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its series Working Papers with number 2012-050.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2012-050
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  1. 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.
  2. Eric T. Swanson & John C. Williams, 2014. "Measuring the Effect of the Zero Lower Bound on Medium- and Longer-Term Interest Rates," NBER Working Papers 20486, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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, 02.
  4. Seth Carpenter & Selva Demiralp, 2004. "The liquidity effect in the federal funds market: evidence from daily open market operations," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2004-61, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  5. Eric T. Swanson, 2011. "Let's Twist Again: A High-Frequency Event-Study Analysis of Operation Twist and Its Implications for QE2," 2011 Meeting Papers 982, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  6. Holod, Dmytro & Peek, Joe, 2007. "Asymmetric information and liquidity constraints: A new test," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(8), pages 2425-2451, August.
  7. Jonathan H. Wright, 2011. "What does Monetary Policy do to Long-Term Interest Rates at the Zero Lower Bound?," NBER Working Papers 17154, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Milton Friedman & Anna J. Schwartz, 1963. "A Monetary History of the United States, 1867–1960," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie63-1, May.
  9. Bernanke, Ben & Gertler, Mark, 1995. "Inside the Black Box: The Credit Channel of Monetary Policy Transmission," Working Papers 95-15, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  10. 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.
  11. Ashcraft, Adam B., 2006. "New Evidence on the Lending Channel," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 38(3), pages 751-775, April.
  12. Daniel L. Thornton, 1998. "The Federal Reserve's operating procedure, nonborrowed reserves, borrowed reserves and the liquidity effect," Working Papers 1998-009, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  13. Friedman, Milton, 1970. "Controls on Interest Rates Paid by Banks," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 2(1), pages 15-32, February.
  14. Jagjit S. Chadha & Sean Holly, 2011. "New Instruments of Monetary Policy," Studies in Economics 1109, School of Economics, University of Kent.
  15. Jeremy C. Stein & Anil K. Kashyap, 2000. "What Do a Million Observations on Banks Say about the Transmission of Monetary Policy?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 407-428, June.
  16. Christopher J. Neely, 2010. "The large scale asset purchases had large international effects," Working Papers 2010-018, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
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