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Quantitative Easing: An Underappreciated Success

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  • Joseph E. Gagnon

    (Peterson Institute for International Economics)

Abstract

After short-term interest rates in many advanced economies fell below 1 percent, central banks turned to quantitative easing (QE) to support economic growth. They purchased massive and unprecedented amounts of long-term bonds in an effort to reduce long-term borrowing costs. Nevertheless, recovery from the Great Recession proved disappointingly slow. Recently, some central banks have pushed short-term interest rates slightly below zero to provide an additional boost to growth. The slow recovery and the turn to negative rates have raised questions about the benefits of QE bond purchases and whether their effectiveness has reached a limit. Gagnon reviews the outpouring of research on QE and its effects and finds overwhelming evidence that QE does ease financial conditions and supports economic growth. The channels are similar to those of conventional monetary policy. QE can be especially powerful during times of financial stress, but it has a significant effect in normal times with no observed diminishing returns. Rarely, if ever, have economists studying a specific question reached such a widely held consensus so quickly. But this consensus has yet to spread more broadly within the economics profession or the wider world.

Suggested Citation

  • Joseph E. Gagnon, 2016. "Quantitative Easing: An Underappreciated Success," Policy Briefs PB16-4, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:iie:pbrief:pb16-4
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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Relying on the Fed's Balance Sheet
      by Steve Cecchetti and Kim Schoenholtz in Money, Banking and Financial Markets on 2018-02-26 12:56:17

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    3. Maria N. Ivanova, 2020. "Marx’s Theory of Money: A Reappraisal in the Light of Unconventional Monetary Policy," Review of Radical Political Economics, Union for Radical Political Economics, vol. 52(1), pages 137-151, March.
    4. Arteta,Carlos & Kose,Ayhan & Stocker,Marc & Taskin,Temel, 2016. "Negative interest rate policies : sources and implications," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7791, The World Bank.
    5. Thornton, John & di Tommaso, Caterina, 2018. "Unconventional monetary policy and the ‘currency wars’," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 26(C), pages 250-254.
    6. Jan Philipp Fritsche & Lea Steininger, 2019. "Handlungsspielraum der EZB - von Zinspolitik bis Helikoptergeld," DIW Roundup: Politik im Fokus 134, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    7. Domenico Lombardi & Pierre L. Siklos & Samantha St. Amand, 2019. "Government Bond Yields At The Effective Lower Bound: International Evidence," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 37(1), pages 102-120, January.
    8. Christian A. Conrad, 2019. "The Effects on Investment Behavior of Zero Interest Rate Policy¡ªEvidence From a Roulette Experiment," Applied Economics and Finance, Redfame publishing, vol. 6(4), pages 18-27, July.
    9. Sumner, Scott, 2017. "Monetary policy rules in light of the great recession," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 54(PA), pages 90-99.
    10. Lior Cohen & Marta Gómez-Puig & Simón Sosvilla-Rivero, 2019. "Has the ECB’s monetary policy prompted companies to invest, or pay dividends?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 51(45), pages 4920-4938, September.
    11. Charles Bean, 2018. "Central Banking after the Great Recession," Economic Affairs, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(1), pages 2-15, February.
    12. Joseph E Gagnon & Philip Turner, 2019. "Monetary and Exchange Rate Policies for Sustained Growth in Asia," National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) Discussion Papers 497, National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
    13. repec:bla:pacecr:v:23:y:2018:i:1:p:8-26 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Domenico Lombardi & Pierre Siklos & Samantha St. Amand, 2018. "A Survey Of The International Evidence And Lessons Learned About Unconventional Monetary Policies: Is A ‘New Normal’ In Our Future?," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(5), pages 1229-1256, December.
    15. Sarah Drought & Roger Perry & Adam Richardson, 2018. "Aspects of implementing unconventional monetary policy in New Zealand," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Bulletin, Reserve Bank of New Zealand, vol. 81, pages 1-22, May.
    16. Robert Kurtzman & David Zeke, 2020. "Misallocation Costs of Digging Deeper into the Central Bank Toolkit," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 38, pages 94-126, October.
    17. Richard H. Clarida, 2019. "Monetary Policy, Price Stability, and Equilibrium Bond Yields: Success and Consequences : a speech at the High-Level Conference on Global Risk, Uncertainty, And Volatility, co-sponsored by the Bank fo," Speech 1102, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    18. Andreea-Emanuela Drăgoi & Ana-Cristina Bâlgăr, 2016. "Quantitative Easing Limits. Evidence From Japan," Romanian Economic Business Review, Romanian-American University, vol. 11(4), pages 60-70, december.
    19. Michael T. Kiley, 2018. "Quantitative Easing and the ‘New Normal’ in Monetary Policy," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 86(S1), pages 21-49, September.
    20. Diego Valiante, 2017. "The ‘Visible Hand’ of the ECB’s first quantitative easing," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 14(4), pages 601-624, October.
    21. Benjamin Garcia & Arsenios Skaperdas, 2017. "Inferring the Shadow Rate from Real Activity," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2017-106, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    22. Beck, Roland & Duca, Ioana A. & Stracca, Livio, 2019. "Medium term treatment and side effects of quantitative easing: international evidence," Working Paper Series 2229, European Central Bank.

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