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The central-bank balance sheet as an instrument of monetary policy

  • Vasco Cúrdia
  • Michael Woodford

While many analyses of monetary policy consider only a target for a short-term nominal interest rate, other dimensions of policy have recently been of greater importance: changes in the supply of bank reserves, changes in the assets acquired by central banks, and changes in the interest rate paid on reserves. We first extend a standard New Keynesian model to allow a role for the central bank’s balance sheet in equilibrium determination and then consider the connections between these alternative policy dimensions and traditional interest rate policy. We distinguish between “quantitative easing” in the strict sense and targeted asset purchases by a central bank, arguing that, according to our model, while the former is likely to be ineffective at all times, the latter can be effective when financial markets are sufficiently disrupted. Neither is a perfect substitute for conventional interest rate policy, but purchases of illiquid assets are particularly likely to improve welfare when the zero lower bound on the policy rate is reached. We also consider optimal policy with regard to the payment of interest on reserves; in our model, this requires that the interest rate on reserves be kept near the target for the policy rate at all times.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its series Staff Reports with number 463.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:463
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  1. Shigenori Shiratsuka, 2009. "Size and Composition of the Central Bank Balance Sheet: Revisiting Japanfs Experience of the Quantitative Easing Policy," IMES Discussion Paper Series 09-E-25, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan.
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  13. Gertler, Mark & Karadi, Peter, 2011. "A model of unconventional monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 17-34, January.
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  16. Joseph Gagnon & Matthew Raskin & Julie Remache & Brian Sack, 2011. "Large-scale asset purchases by the Federal Reserve: did they work?," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue May, pages 41-59.
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  19. Tobias Adrian & Karin Kimbrough & Dina Marchioni, 2011. "The Federal Reserve’s Commercial Paper Funding Facility," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue May, pages 25-39.
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  23. Nobuhiro Kiyotaki & Gauti Eggertsson & Andrea Ferrero & Marco Del Negro, 2010. "The Great Escape? A Quantitative Evaluation of the Fed’s Non-Standard Policies," 2010 Meeting Papers 113, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  24. Michael Woodford & Pierpaolo Benigno, 2004. "Inflation Stabilization and Welfare: The Case of a Distorted Steady State," 2004 Meeting Papers 481, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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